Back in January, at my favourite school, I ran into the science teacher in the hallway. She had a HUGE box of red peppers. It was about half empty. She also had a big mixing bowl of already chopped red peppers. She had been making chili with her students for science class and was trying to get rid of the leftover ingredients. Red peppers are expensive (especially in the winter), so I was more than happy to help. I took two whole peppers and the enire mixing bowl of chopped peppers.
I had a vauge memory that Laurie Colwin suggested making a red pepper soup with duck stock in her essay “The Duck Dilemma” in More Home Cooking. I still had some duck stock in the freezer so I gave it a try! If you want to make duck stock, the instructions for roasting a duck are here and the instructions for making stock from bones are here. If that all seems like too much, this soup would be quite delicious made with a good homemade vegetable or chicken stock instead!
It was the end of January when I made this, and it would be some seriously expensive soup if I had not gotten the peppers for free! It was delicious and full of vitamin C ,which was helpful in January, but I have waited until big bags of peppers are cheap at the farmers market to post it.
I froze some of my red pepper soup and ate it in March along side a salad of wilted dandelion greens and cured meats. This was, in my opinion, a totally perfect meal. If I had a restaurant, that combo would be on my menu.
RED PEPPER SOUP
- 2 Tablespoons of butter or olive oil
- 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- a splash of white wine (optional)
- 8 cups of seeded, chopped red bell peppers
- 2 Tablespoons paprika
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
- 6 cups of good stock (I used duck stock but home-made chicken stock or vegetable stock would be good too)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Another roasted red pepper and chopped for garnish (optional)
- Heat the butter or oil in a large heavy bottomed pot. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the wine, if you are using it, and cook until it is reduced by half.
- Add the red peppers and spices and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the duck stock and simmer for half an hour.
- Puree the soup until it is totally smooth.
- Stir in the cream, if you are using it.
- Season the soup with salt and pepper and garnish with roasted peppers before serving.