roasted red pepper soup
This is the most unlikely of Christmas traditions and if you ask me how it started, I’d be hard pressed to tell you. I think I made it as a starter for Thanksgiving one year and it ended up being introduced to Christmas dinner, was loved by all and is back every year now by special request. Cheese fondue on Christmas eve and roasted red pepper soup on Christmas day.
The hardest part about this recipe is figuring out timing. Serving more than one course at a holiday dinner with half a million other things going on is not easy. This year though, I think it turned out quite well that everyone came to sit together as the turkey was finishing up. By the time we finished the soup, the turkey came out of the oven to sit, giving us all a little time to “reset” our palates and recover from the heat that this recipe delivers. It’s no secret that I love spicy, so here’s a warning, this recipe is quite spicy. If you want a milder taste, cut down on the roasted red pepper flakes. Or, just add some more coconut milk. Both would result in a milder soup. Next day’s soup is just as good and ever spicier.
While this soup may not be everyone’s cup of tea for the Christmas holiday it does make a great all around winter soup that’s easy to put together (not stocks required) and will clear up the stuffiest of noses (keep the Kleenex handy).
Roasted Red Pepper Soup
serves 8-10 people as a starter (with leftovers)
- 6 red bell peppers, roasted or two 13-ounce cans roasted sweet red peppers
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2 cups chopped onions (2 medium onions generally does the trick for me)
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and left whole
- 2 tsp roasted red pepper flakes (half of this for a milder soup)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups undrained tomatoes (16 oz)
- 1 3/4 cps reduced-fat coconut milk (or whole fat, whatever)
- 2 cups water
- If you’ve roasted fresh red peppers, set them aside in a tightly covered bowl to cool and then stem, seed, and peel them. If you’re using canned roasted red peppers, rinse them well in a colander and set aside to drain.
- In a covered non-reactive pot, heat oil (I used a dutch oven for this) on medium-high heat.
- Add onions, salt, pepper flakes, and garlic. Sauté on medium heat for 15 minutes or until onions are soft and translucent.
- Remove the pot from heat and add canned tomatoes, red peppers, coconut milk, and water.
- Mix together so ingredients are fully integrated.
- Now, in batches, add the soup to a blender to mix all together. An immersion blender works beautifully here as well since you can just throw it right into the pot. If you have a dish towel to spare and are using a standing blender, you may want to put the towel under the cover to prevent hot soup from spilling out the top.
- Once mixed, your soup will go from a light pink to a bright red.
- Once the soup is fully mixed, add back to the soup pot and reheat content on a low heat. The longer you leave it on the flame the richer the flavors. Alternatively, feel free to make this soup the night before serving and simply reheat in soup pot before serving.
- Serve on it own or with a small dollop of crème fraiche.