I woke up yesterday to a chilly, damp and rainy day. It called for soup.
The process of making soup is magical to me. I take all these disparate ingredients and mix them together into a watery mess. I add heat and come back hours later to find that the watery mess has turned into something rich and nourishing and delicious. Like I said, magic (or at least alchemy).
I’m not sure which I love more, cooking or feeding people. It’s kind of like trying to figure out whether I like the process of knitting more than the finished product. It’s hard to tell. Since it was Wednesday, and Knit Night, I could cook and feed my knitting friends. What could be better?
What kind of soup to make was the question…I had no idea, so (as we say in my house) I went to see what Mr. Fridge had to say. (Yes, kids, it’s true, sometimes our house is little like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse…without the alleged exposing yourself stuff).
Mr. Fridge said, “Red peppers.”
Mr. Freezer said, “Artichoke stock.”
I said, “Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Soup? I wonder what that would taste like?”
There was a time when I thought roasted red peppers came in jars. Then I was amazed to learn how how easy it is to do yourself.
Start by preheating your oven to 450 and prepping a sheet pan by covering in aluminum foil and spraying it with cooking spray. Then wash and core the peppers.
Put the peppers on the sheet pan and pop it into the oven for 15 minutes.
When the timer goes off, flip the peppers over. (The skins will start to blacken and the peppers may char a little. This is a good thing).
Put them back for another 15 minutes. When they are done, immediately put them in a brown paper bag and fold the bag over to seal the steam inside (this is important). Leave them and go have lunch or something. Come back about 20 minutes later and take the peppers out of the bag. They’ll look like this:
At this point it’s really easy to slip the skins off. (The skins are yucky and will separate from the peppers in your soup if you don’t take them off).
Voila!! Roasted Red Peppers.
Then, if you want, you can follow the rest of the recipe and have really yummy soup:
If you have really good friends, they’ll bring bread (gluten-free for me) and the salad. Then you’ll have dinner and great conversation and fun!
How did Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Soup taste? Well, the bowls weren’t licked but, I was told, that’s only because people might look at us funny.
Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Soup
1 Large Onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 quarts vegetable stock (I used artichoke stock that I made previously and had frozen)
10 roasted red peppers (see directions above), roughly chopped
1 large jar marinated artichoke hearts, very well rinsed, drained and roughly chopped
1 large can garbanzo beans
1 large can 2lb, (or 2 quart jars) whole tomatoes
3/4 tsp dried basil
1 cup half and half (or light cream)
salt and pepper to taste
5 or 5 large fresh basil leaves basil to garnish
Gently heat olive oil over medium low heat in medium sized (5 quart) stock pot. Add onions, celery and salt. Sweat (not saute) until the onion is translucent and the celery is soft. Add the garlic and continue cooking until garlic is soft. Do not let these ingredients brown.
Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
Take off the heat and let cool.
Using an immersion blender, puree until ingredients are blended but still rustic. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a conventional blender and do in batches.
Add cream. Heat until heated through but do not bring to a boil. Adjust seasoning.
Garnish with freshly chopped basil.