Friday, December 3, 2010

Roasted Bell Pepper Soup with Cream and Truffle Oil

At this time of year, soup makes sense for so many reasons. First, it's cold. Really cold if you're in St. Louis, and soup is a perfect remedy. Second, it's finals time, which means soup is a dish that takes about an hour to make, but can last for days. Finally, this soup is actually very healthy, so when you're shoving gingerbread cookies and holiday hams down your throat, a fresh vegetable soup is just what the doctor ordered. 

I like to buy mixed peppers from Costco, but you can used any kind (other than green ... they taste like nothing) or even jarred peppers. The trick with this soup is letting the peppers and vegetables roast slowly to coax as much sweetness and flavor as possible. I think you'll find this soup warm and satisfying. Enjoy!
Buying peppers in bulk from Costco is a great way to have high quality ingredients and save money
Roasted Pepper Soup with Cream and Truffle Oil
yields: About six servingss
now playing: The Black Keys - Rubber Factory
now serving: Chateau St. Michelle Chardonnay
inspired by:  winter and the desire to stay warm 

6 Mixed Bell Peppers (quartered, deseeded, and deveined)
1 quart chicken stock
4 oz. cherry tomatoes
6-8 shallots (cut in half)
4 cloves of garlic 
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 russet potato (peeled and chopped)
Sea salt
Cayenne Pepper
Olive oil and butter as needed 

Truffle Oil (optional ... I know it's expensive)
Tarragon (fresh, chopped)

1. Preheat oven to 325˚. Place quartered peppers, cherry tomatoes, shallots, and three of the garlic cloves in a pan. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for about an hour. Note: If your oven heats unevenly, rotate the pans midway through the roast to make sure the peppers do not burn. 
2. Once softened, and thoroughly roasted, remove from over and pace in a metal bowl. Cover with plastic wrap for 10-15 minutes, allowing the peppers to steam.
3. In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a pan over medium heat until the butter begins to foam. Add potato, carrot, and last remaining clove of garlic and saute for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add all chicken stock, and bring to a simmer.  
4. Back to the peppers: remove plastic wrap, and peel the peppers and shallots. The pepper skin should peel right off after steaming, and shallots should literally squeeze out of their skin. If the garlic is soft, squeeze it out and add it to the peppers. If it is hard, discard it (its given all it can give).
5. Add peppers to soup and add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Simmer for 15-20 minutes (letting the flavors mingle). 
6. When you're ready to serve, use a stick blender or food processor and purée soup until smooth. Add more chicken stock or water if you want to have a thinner soup. The purée can be made and reheated for several days. 

To Serve: ladle soup in to a bowl, place croutons in the middle and drizzle fresh cream on top. You can also drizzle truffle oil and freshly chopped tarragon for extra decadence. This soup is easy, healthy, and looks very chic. I think you'll agree. Enjoy!


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