I just returned from a membership store. Though I only needed two croissants, I had to buy a dozen. The same with red peppers. One was all I needed, yet I came home with a bag of six. What was I going to do with all the peppers? Stuffing them with hamburger, onions, rice, and cheese was an option. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t like this dish as much as I do.
My second option was to make soup. Roasted red pepper soup has become common and many grocery stores carry it. Still, nothing tastes as good as homemade soup, and with this thought, I started roasting peppers.
I coated a jelly roll pan with baking spray and scattered the halved peppers on it. Next, I drizzled the veggies with olive oil and seasoned them with thyme. Into a 425-degree oven they went, and roasted until the peppers were soft and charred — about a half hour.
After the peppers have cooled a bit you may remove the skins. However, the skins contain vitamins and you may want to leave them on. Your food processor or immersion blender will chop up the skins for you. Things were going well, but I wanted my soup to taste different, and added some chopped capers for flavor and texture.
A Matter of Taste: The Definitive Seasoning Cookbook by Sylvia Windle Humphrey (now a vintage volume) describes capers as a “trailing, nasturtium-like plant which rambles along the walls and rocky places in the south of Europe.” The berries of this plant are dried and pickled in vinegar. Humphrey thinks the briny capers lighten recipes, cleanse flavor, and cut the fat.
But my soup needed fat so I added some butter. Onward to garlic, parsley, and rosemary. Finally, I added some small pasta. You may use shells, stars, tubes, spirals — whatever is on the shelf. The starch in the pasta will thicken the soup a bit and add color.
Are you wondering what to do with too many red peppers? My original recipe may solve your problem. Besides, soup tastes good on chilly days, warm days, dark days, and sunny days. This recipe makes eight servings and freezes well.
6 large red peppers, cut in half and de-seeded
About 1 Tbsp. thyme
32-ounce carton non-salted chicken stock
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. Italian parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. dried rosemary
2 Tbsp. un-rinsed capers, chopped
1/2 cup tiny pasta
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat baking pan with cooking spray. Put peppers in pan and drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme. Roast in oven for about half an hour, turning once, until they begin to char. Let them cool and remove the skins. Transfer veggies to a soup kettle. Add chicken stock and puree with an immersion blender. Add garlic salt, butter, parsley, rosemary, and capers. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add pasta and cook until it is al dente, stirring twice to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Ladle into bowls and top with shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve with salty crackers or crusty bread.