Sunday, September 29, 2019

Rosie Makes Roasted Red Pepper Soup.

With the Outer Banks weather hovering in the mid- to low-seventies,
it's time for soup!
Since my peppers are maturing and turning red now,
I'm taking advantage of those sweet, ripe peppers
and making a roasted red pepper soup with Italian sausage.

Now, about those red peppers.

The bell pepper plants (Capsicum annuum) in my garden are now producing the best and sweetest peppers of their growing season – the mature, fully ripened red peppers.  All peppers, whether sweet or hot, start out green, and then they go through the spectrum of colors and flavors, from the grassy and slightly bitter green pepper, to yellow then orange, gradually sweetening, and finally to the nutrient-rich, mellow, and almost fruity, red pepper.  By staying on the plant longer, the red pepper has had time to develop additional flavor characteristics and nutritional qualities, making it an excellent source of antioxidants, beta carotene, Vitamin C, and fiber.  Longer vine-time, while making the red pepper sweeter than its predecessors, also makes it more expensive, due to the required use of extra resources demanded by the longer harvest.  All this is moot if you’re growing your own, in which case, good things come to those who wait.

I’m taking the fully mature red peppers and charring them over an open flame which concentrates the sugars, making them even sweeter, and then showcasing them in a smoky, velvety, roasted red pepper soup.  It’s perfect for this time of year.

 First, let's get the peppers roasted,
then I'll give you the "recipe."

It helps to slice the peppers.

Keep turning to roast evenly.
Skin side to flame.

You want to blacken the skin.
If you don't have an open flame,
blacken the peppers under your broiler.

When the peppers are blackened,
immediately immerse in ice water.

Use your fingers to rub off the blackened skin.

Place on cutting board and slice out ribs and remove seeds.

And your peppers are ready.

Here's what I threw together for a nice, hearty fall soup.

Rosie's Roasted Red Pepper Soup
2 red peppers, roasted and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
6 oz. or so hot Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 TB olive oil
1 TB unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 heaping TB flour
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup cream
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
fresh thyme

Cook the sausage until browned, drain, and hold for later.
Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat
 until butter is foamy.
Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add chopped, roasted red peppers and garlic
and sauté for a minute.
Add in flour and cook for another minute
to cook out the raw taste.
Slowly pour in stock, stirring.
Bring to simmer and thicken a bit.
Immersion blend the mixture.
If you don't have an immersion blender,
pour 1/2 cup at a time into a blender/processor
and blend/process away until smooth.
(Don't pour the entire amount in the blender at once,
else you'll have a hot mess.  Literally.)
Stir in the cream and heat through.
Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Ladle into bowls and add crumbled sausage and fresh thyme.

The amounts I give are merely guidelines.
Use as much sausage as you like.
The more, the better.

Cook the sausage until nicely browned.

Drain it and save it.

Chop the onion and peppers.

Sauté the onions in oil and butter for a couple of minutes.

Add in the red pepper and ...
... the minced garlic.

Cook, stirring.
Medium heat.

Add the flour.
Stir and cook it to get out the raw taste.

Slowly add in the stock, stirring, to thicken.

Add in some cream.

Immersion blend.
And season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

I happened to have some lovely parmesan/garlic knots
I'd already made.
Heat 'em up.
Butter and toast 'em.
However you want 'em. 
They're great for dipping, dunking, and sopping up every last drop.
And here's how to make them:  Bread Knots.

They went perfectly with the soup.


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