I am going to make red pepper soup!
The declaration cut through my reverie like a knife as I dreamily strolled through the aromatic, vibrant farmer’s market stalls on a crisp October morning. What a great idea! I thought to myself as I wondered if someone in the skies was giving me a not-so-subtle hint. I looked up to see a determined woman in her late 60s, cropped, salt-and-pepper hair and a checkered shirt zero in on a big pile of the most beautiful red peppers, shades of persimmon and crimson, vermillion, and scarlet, some with patches of yellow and green mixed in. She was followed by a softer-spoken woman and a man, both about the same age and appearance. They oohed and aahed and followed slightly, respectfully behind. I pretended to be very interested in the piles of lettuces till she examined and carefully picked her peppers and the group moved on. I took her spot and followed suit on her very delicious idea. This recipe is dedicated to the Red Pepper Soup angel.
- 3 red bell peppers, peeled and roughly cut up*
- 2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped up**
- 3 hot peppers, cored and sliced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 lemon, juiced
- broth, 1 container (I used Hearth broth. To keep vegan, use a good quality vegetable or seaweed broth)
- Olive oil
- salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- paprika, to taste
- parmesan cheese (optional, eliminate if vegan)
* I love roasting peppers and eggplant on the stovetop and then peeling the skin once cooled. It gives the most delicious smoked flavor to these mild vegetables. I did the same here to the peppers till they developed a nice char. Then let them cool in a dish and peeled them under cool water to wash off the skin. Pat dry, remove the core, and then slice them.
** To peel the tomatoes, bring a pot of water to boil. Prick the skin with a knife and dunk them into the water and remove in 30 seconds. The skin should peel off easily once removed and cooled.
- In a heavy pan, heat olive oil and add the onions, and saute till transparent.
- Add the garlic and also saute for a minute or two.
- Add the peppers, tomatoes, rosemary, and spices.
- Stir for a couple of minutes till it gets fragrant.
- Add the broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and once cooled, remove the rosemary stalk and puree in a blender (I use a handheld blender directly in the pot).
- Add lemon juice, taste to adjust seasonings if needed. Top with lots of grated parmesan cheese if using.
- Enjoy with toasted, crusty sourdough bread!