We’re Cooking: Roasted Red and Yellow Pepper Soup with Yellow Pepper Confit

Continuing on with the fun of using our new immersion blender (seriously, who knew the additional of one kitchen tool could change the way we cook so much….it is the best creation ever!) we made a roasted mixed pepper soup for a friends 40th birthday gathering the other night.  Paired with a stellar 2004 Bressia Pordundo from Argentina, the spicy, smoky soup was a decadent starter to a barbecue inspired dinner (yes, including Gary’s beans…..)

I often add a touch of cream at the end of these silky soups I have been making recently to just enhance the richness a bit, but could easily omit it if I didn’t have it or wanted to save some calories.  I would really recommend making sure to add it to this soup.  The peppers have a certain bitterness that the simple addition of cream tames beautifully.  Topped with a yellow pepper confit and freshly toasted bread crumbs or a bit of cheese, this is a wonderful way to show your guests how much you care.


Roasted Red and Yellow Pepper Soup with Yellow Pepper Confit

for the soup –
4 mixed red and yellow peppers (we only did red and yellow bell peppers as we don’t like the taste of green peppers.  If you like green bell peppers feel free to add one of those as well)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, de-stemmed and seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons dry Sherry
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 large sprig rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
2 large bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 cups cream or fat-free half and half
Toasted bread crumbs or shredded Parmesan or Feta cheese for garnish (optional)

For the confit –
1 yellow pepper, de-stemmed and seeded, cut into 1/2 inch strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar

For the soup – Roast peppers uncovered on a baking dish in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, turning every few minutes until the peppers become charred on all sides.  As the pepper are roasting heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven.  Add the onions, jalapeno, celery and carrots, stirring constantly as they begin to soften, about 7-10 minutes.  Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for another few minutes, stirring every now and then.  Add all the dried spices with the tomatoes, Sherry vinegar, Sherry and lemon zest.  Tie the bay leaves, rosemary and thyme in a bundle with kitchen twine and add to the pot.  If there is not enough liquid in the pot and the veggies are sticking add a bit of stock.  Cook for another few minutes.  The peppers should be charred by now.  Remove them from the oven and place them in a glass or ceramic bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 7 minutes.  The plastic wrap will help steam the peppers, allowing the skins to peel away easily.  Stir the soup.  When the peppers have steamed and cooled slightly, carefully peel the skins away, remove the stems and seeds.  Chop in large strips and add to the pot, stirring in to incorporate the peppers into the soup.  Cook together for 2 minutes then add the stock, bring to a boil then reduce and simmer for 20 minutes to 1 hour.  About 15 minutes before time to serve the soup, remove the herb bundle and carefully puree the soup with a blender.  Bring back up to a simmer and whisk in the cream and fresh herbs.  Keep on a low simmer until ready to serve.  Top with freshly toasted bread crumbs and the pepper confit.

To make the pepper confit – Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the peppers, herbs and garlic, stirring constantly to soften.  Add the sugar and a bit of salt and pepper to taste, and cook for a minute or two as they start to caramelize.  Add the lemon juice and vinegar.  Cook until most of the liquid has cooked to a syrup like consistency and the peppers are very soft.