Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Roasted Pepper and Garlic Soup

It snowed!  It finally snowed!  It happens about once a year, usually in winter, though this is often dubbed "The Big Freeze" by the media.  People panic, lose the ability to drive or be able to leave the house because they are "snowed in" by two centimetres of the fluffy white stuff.  Working in an office a few years ago, I was the only one who made it to work in the morning and I had walked the 45 minutes to get there.  Leave it to the Northern Canadian to get to work in the snow.  It stems from my mother never allowing us to take a "snow day" - if the school was open, we were going and a few feet (yes feet!) of snow weren't going to stop us.  So you can imagine how confused I was to be alone in the office and find out the culprit was a few centimetres of snow.


We had to get out quick yesterday before it melted.  We drove up to the hills in hopes of some good shots but the fog had other plans. 

A little stick throwing and fetching...

And once back home, the husband and I had one of our psychic moments as he asked if I fancied soup and a grilled cheese for lunch while I was in the process of googling roasted red pepper soup recipes.  He was thinking more along the lines of open a tin of Heinz but I swore it wouldn't take me long and a half an hour later we had this:

When I get an idea for something I'd like to make, I begin by searching for recipes to see what ingredients are similar and where in the recipe has the chef put their own spin on it.  If an ingredient is present in most recipes I take that as a must and the others I feel I can play around with.  With this soup it was pretty much peppers across the board but every recipe differed on the rest of the ingredients.  So I decided on a tri-coloured pepper soup, with garlic and tomatoes - it's what I had in and I preferred to keep most of the red peppers I had on hand for stir-fries later in the week, like this one.

I also like to have a look at timings; how long should this roast for, how long should I cool this etc.  I thought 20 minutes for the peppers but searching for a few recipes had me doubting myself - one said 8-10 minutes, another said an hour??  I stuck with my 20 minutes at 200°C and did the peppers and garlic together and they turned out just perfect.  I drizzled a little olive oil and salt and pepper over both sides but roasted them skin side up.

If patience is something you possess, I'd suggest letting the peppers cool before peeling but since I feel no pain (and possess very little patience) I went straight in there - the little orange one refused to shed it's skin so I let it keep it, and my fingers couldn't really take the heat anymore.  The garlic popped right out of their little shells, they were so much more co-operative.

I then fried a little red onion in some oil, added the peppers, garlic, a little dried thyme, a tin of chopped tomatoes and some chicken stock to cover.

I let it simmer for about 10 minutes, let it splash up on the walls, whizzed it with a handheld blender and served it up alongside a grilled cheese.  It tasted so creamy and lovely, almost like I'd poured cream in it.  Though we both agreed a cheese sandwich was not its best compliment and that a crusty bread or crunchy plain salad would be much better.  The cheese just seemed to bring out the bitterness of the tomatoes.  Not sure if the parmesan cheese on top had anything to do with it either.

Now this is where you put your own spin on it - swap red onion for white, add some celery and carrots, stick to one pepper colour, choose different seasonings, maybe basil or oregano, add more peppers and omit the tomatoes.  There are so many options with soup, which is why I've chosen to share this one as this blog acts like my own recipe book.  I will definitely be making this soup again, just as it is!!

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