One of my very favorite things is roasted red pepper soup. Sometimes I buy the Pacific brand that comes in a box and eat it immediately. Sometimes I make it. Tonight I decided to make it.
- 2 c chopped red, orange or yellow bell peppers
- 2 c mixed cherry, grape or other small tomatoes
- 1 tbl olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 c chopped red onion
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 c white wine
- 2 c pumpkin soup (see note)
- 1/4 c chopped parsley
Note: I had a jar of my mom’s homemade, canned pumpkin soup on hand. If you don’t, then: cut any small winter squash in half (pumpkin, Hubbard, butternut, acorn, anything with orange flesh), oil a baking sheet and roast, cut side down, at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. Let the squash cool enough to handle. Scoop the flesh from the skin and set aside. Add with the roasted vegetables, along with 2-3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock.
Preheat your oven to 415 degrees F. In a bowl, mix the tomatoes and bell peppers together with 1 1/2 tsp olive oil, salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Spread mixture out on a baking sheet and roast until peppers are browned at the edges and tomatoes have burst, about 25 minutes.
While the vegetables roast, sauté the onions in the rest of the olive oil. Salt and pepper liberally. Allow the onions to cook until they are browned at the edges. Add garlic and stir to mix. Add wine and scrape up any browned bits then add tomato and bell pepper mixture. Stir some more. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Then add either pumpkin soup, or roasted squash and stock. Bring to a low boil over medium high heat, then lower heat and allow to simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Add parsley and stir.
Finally, blend soup until you have the desired consistency, either in a blender (not my preferred method) or with an immersion blender.
The result is a creamy soup with a smoky undertone.
A January like this- 3 weeks of lows in the negative zero range, highs in the teens, then snow, then ice– calls for soup. Not bright, cheery soup. Heavy, hearty, spicy soup. Soup with meat and grains and beans. Like this soup.
Cracked Wheat Soup with Bacon, Kale and White Beans
- 3 slices thick cut bacon, cut into chunks
- 1 c bulghur wheat
- 1 c onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 c jicama, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 6-8 c vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 3/4 c white beans
- 2 c kale, torn into bite size pieces
Place onion in food processor and chop fine. Then add carrot, celery and jicama and do the same. I know the jicama seems like an odd ingredient in a soup like this, but it adds a nice crunch.
Cook bacon on medium heat in a large Dutch oven or soup pot until crisp. Add bulghur wheat and cook until it has darkened from light brown to medium brown. About 3 minutes. Add onion and vegetable mixture to the pan and stir until the veggies start to soften. About 6-8 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and stir to mix. Add stock to pot, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom.
Bring pot to simmer over medium high heat then reduce to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until bulghur is cooked through. Then add beans and kale and stir to mix. Serve.
Last week I was leafing through back issues of Bon Appetit. I have about 6 years worth. I had to stop my subscription when I ran out of storage space. And time. And ability to keep up. Now I pull out the back issues for inspiration.
This time I was drawn to a recipe for poached chicken in a ginger broth. I knew I didn’t want to make the recipe exactly as written, but I loved the idea of a gingery garlicky broth with noodles and meat. I have pork chops in my freezer so I decided to use that and build a soup around it.
Pork Ginger Broth
- 10 oz. pork chop, cut into chunks
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 10 cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1″ ginger, minced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 chile, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tbl. Soy sauce
- 1 tbl. White wine vinegar
- 6 c. Stock
- 3 oz. udon noodles
Heat up the oil in a Dutch oven. Add pork and brown. Season with salt and pepper. When pork is browned, remove from pan. Add mushrooms and sauté until browned. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add chile. I used jalapeño but a red chile would be even better. Stir. Add a little more salt and pepper, then allspice and the 2 bay leaves. Stir.
Use soy sauce and vinegar to deglaze the pan, stirring a scraping to get any browned bits up from the bottom of the pan. Add pork to the pan again. Then add stock. Bring to a simmer and add the udon noodles. Allow to simmer, uncovered, until noodles are done and the flavors have melded. I actually put the soup back on the stove for an extra 10 minutes last night because I felt like it needed to reduce a bit more. Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve with parsley and scallions.