This recipe is from Rick Rodgers, but I had a little something to do with creating it. I had emailed him about a similar soup my sister and I had tried at a local restaurant and wanted to reproduce. He graciously supplied this recipe. I made it, and emailed him that it was excellent. He subsequently added it his book The Carefree Cook.
I make this soup often, and it is a family favorite for Thanksgiving Day.
“Don't use bottled red peppers, as they are usually packed in vinegar, and that will make the soup too strong, especially with the balsamic on top.
“Here's an easy way to roast peppers. I broil them, which is much easier than any other way and you can do a lot at a time. The trick is to cut the peppers into large, long strips. Cut off the top lid and bottom inch of the peppers--set these two pieces aside, but poke the stem out of the top lid. Cut the pepper vertically down the side and open up into a long strip. Cut out the ribs and seeds (the strips make this chore easier, too). You can do 3 or 4 peppers in no time this way. Now lay the strips, tops, and bottoms on a broiler rack and broil in a preheated broiler until the peppers turn the familiar black. Set aside for a few minutes to cool, then peel.”
I usually dump the roasted peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let them cool. They peel very easily. In fact this whole process is so easy, and the peppers so delicious, I have never bought bottled roasted red peppers since.
Potato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Makes 6 to 8 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped (enhances the potato and red pepper both)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes (about 14 oz total, because the soup will be too thick if you use too much)
4 cups chicken broth (you may need more -- add if needed to the pureed soup if too thick)
4 red peppers, roasted and peeled (you want lots of red pepper flavor)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Balsamic vinegar, for serving
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion, celery and garlic.
Cover and cook until the onion is golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the baking potatoes and broth.
Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, until the potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, add the red peppers and oregano.
In batches, puree the soup in blender or food processor.
Season with salt and pepper. Serve with the vinegar drizzled over each serving.
By Rick Rodgers