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Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Soup

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Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Tom J. Noe
Although browning the onions is time consuming, most of the cooking process is unattended. Once the onions are browned and the peppers roasted, the soup goes together quickly. It's intensely flavored, so you may wish to serve it in small portions. It goes particularly well with aged gouda cheese; if you happen to have any, sprinkle a little over the soup or melt some on a piece of bread to serve with it.

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups thinly sliced onions (2 large or three medium)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • 2/3 cup dry or medium dry sherry, divided
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup cream (optional)

Preparation:

1. Cook the onions: In a large, heavy bottomed saute pan (with lid), melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions and sprinkle with salt. Stir until coated with the butter, and cover. Cook on lowest heat, covered, for at least an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. (Because the moisture level in onions can vary substantially, this process can take longer; I've had batches take 2 hours.) The onions will soften, then slowly turn golden and then amber in color. They'll lose volume and continue to darken, until you should end up with about 2/3 of cup of deep amber onions. Pour about two tablespoons of the sherry into the pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Set the onions aside.

2. Roast the peppers: Cut off the stem end and remove the core, ribs and seeds. Cut into 2 to 4 relatively flat pieces and lay skin side up on a foil-lined sheet pan. Broil on high as close to the element as possible for 6-8 minutes, until skin is blistered and blackened. When peppers are done, carefully pick up the edges of the foil and wrap the peppers in it, sealing the edges. Let sit for 10 minutes or so. Unwrap and scrape off the skins. Cut the peppers strips into several pieces each. (For a tutorial on roasting peppers, click here.)

3. Heat a medium sized heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions, pepper chunks and remaining sherry, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until most of the sherry evaporates. Add the chicken stock and simmer, covered, for an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

4. Pour the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. (If soup is still hot, work in batches and be careful to hold the lid on firmly.) Pour the soup into a bowl through a medium-fine mesh sieve.

5. Return to the pot and bring just to a simmer. Add cream if using and stir to combine. Adjust salt, if necessary.

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