Thursday, July 19, 2007

red pepper soup

red pepper soup

I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. You see, I’ve told you about a lot of soups–I mean, a lot of soups–but I haven’t gotten to share with you this awesome red pepper soup I plucked from the New York Times nearly two years ago because I started this site just a little bit past pepper season.

red bell pepper

So, for ten months, I have tap-tap-tapped my feet until peak peck-o-pepper-picking time came round again and I could tell you about what a find this soup really was. And yesterday, yesterday when I hadn’t planned to make dinner because I was tired and completely uninspired, on the way home it hit me that there is no more legitimate time of year to buy pepper than the present, and suddenly I was enticed into cooking again. So, I swung into Garden of Eden–which by the way, charges the same atrocious prices for bell peppers whether they’re in season or not–got the two ingredients I didn’t already have and burst into the apartment with a “Ta-da!” and a “Guess what!” and a “I finally get to make the red pepper soup tonight!”

red bell peppers

People, you should have seen my one-and-only’s face. Tears of joy? Relief that he’d been saved from take-out boxes? Excitement that we were going to eat one of the best soups in my repertoire? Nope, didn’t happen, not even close. His expression was flat. Zero reaction. And then he said, “Couldn’t you just pickle them instead?”

red pepper prep

What a pain in the peck. I mean, what does he think it is, like 95 degrees outside and not soup weather or something? Yawn. Really, can you tell me why people will eat cooked dishes and panini sandwiches and–this is the hardest for me to bear witness to–large, hot coffees in the most scorching days in July but if you suggest soup, they act like you’re smoking the hoochie pipe?


So we ordered Thai food, which I may add is way warmer and heavier than soup, but tonight, as you may have guessed, I didn’t let anybody, even the one who washes the dishes (and carries the heavy groceries and always brings me water when I’m thirsty and, well now, I’m feeling kinda guilty, great!) talk me out of it.

red pepper soup prep

I hope you appreciate what mountains I have to climb, what setbacks I have to overcome, what adversity I must persevere in the face of to share with you these beloved recipes. But even if you don’t, and really, that’s cool, I’ll just go pout in the corner for a while I’M NOT MAD, I do hope you try this soup, because I’ve owed it to you for ten months plus one day in now and I still think it was worth the wait.

i really love this soup

Red Pepper Soup
Adapted from the New York Times 9/21/05

Makes six large servings, 12 demitasse size.

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/4 cup sliced onions
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup dry white wine
12 large red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
Salt and white or black pepper
Crème fraîche for garnish
Thyme sprigs for garnish.

Put oil in large pot. Add onion when oil is hot. Cook onions until they begin to soften and take on color. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add wine and cook down quickly and on high heat, until only one tablespoon is left. Add peppers, stock, thyme and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until peppers are tender, about 30 minutes. In food processor or with an immersion blender, puree mixture in until smooth (if a food processor, in batches). Adjust seasonings to taste.

Soup can be served warm or chilled. Serve in demitasse cups or soup bowls, topped with a dab of crème fraîche and a tiny sprig of thyme.

Do ahead: Cover and chill overnight or for as long as 2 days or freeze (whisk well before serving if thawed).


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