smoky roasted red pepper soup

soupy

We worked all winter trying to recreate a roasted red pepper soup we had last year while visiting family in Wisconsin. Of course, we finally figured it out now that spring has arrived, and we’re bidding soup weather adieu for awhile.

This first few attempts were too broth-y, and didn’t have enough roasted red pepper taste. Adding half and half gave the dish a creamier texture, and adding some milk helped with that too, while also allowing me to feel like I cut out a few calories. Roasting our own red peppers solved the problem of not having enough red pepper taste.  You can use jarred peppers, but be aware that you will lose some easily added flavor by taking that route. Crunchy croutons dropped right on top of the soup add some nice texture to this dish – they just didn’t make it into the photo. Smoked Gouda cheese can be substituted for the smoked Swiss and cheddar cheese, although the kinds of Gouda we tried did not melt into the soup as well as the Swiss and cheddar blend.

I’m happy we have this soup to look forward to once fall is in the air and soup season returns!

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Smoked Swiss and Cheddar

Yields 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

4 large red bell peppers
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 to 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic
1 quart chicken stock or broth
2 tablespoons skim milk
2 tablespoons half and half
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup smoked Swiss and cheddar cheese, grated (or smoked Gouda)

Method

  1. Roast the peppers (using a grill, gas burner, or oven broiler) until they blacken on all sides. (Roasting using the oven broiler method: cut peppers in half, remove seeds, and flatten the pepper halves.  Place on a foil lined baking sheet under the broiler until blackened on top, 5 to 10 minutes.  Adjust pan in oven during broiling as needed, to ensure peppers are blackened all over. Fold foil over the peppers and allow them to steam for 10 to 15 minutes). With other methods, you can enclose the blackened peppers in foil or a bag and allow them to steam. Remove peppers from enclosure, peel off the blackened skins, and chop the peppers roughly.
  2. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the potatoes and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and roasted peppers, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken broth or stock, stir well and bring to a simmer.  Cook over medium-low heat until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove soup from heat and puree in a blender or food processor until very smooth. This may be done in batches.
  7. Return soup to large pot over low heat.
  8. Add the half and half and milk, stir, and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese.
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