Red Roasted Reminiscing - Roasted Red Pepper Soup
I had a version of this light and creamy soup while in Paris a few weeks ago and couldn’t wait to experiment. It was at one of the cafes my daughter and I first visited the day we got into Paris, and ordered a bunch of great-looking things off the menu. We eventually had to ask the waiter for a box, saying C’est trop de nourriture! (it’s too much food!)
This soup is creamy, but light. There’s no dairy, it’s vegan and very low in fat.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste*
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1 chopped hot pepper, any variety
1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
8 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked from the stem
14 ounces roasted red peppers**
14 ounces fresh or canned tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock or broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups unsweetened almond or oat milk
optional: poached eggs
First, roast the peppers.
**You could use jarred roasted peppers, but they won’t be quite as good. You’ll also have to deal with whatever they were packed in. If they’re packed in oil, you’ll have to dry them pretty well. If it’s brine or citric acid, you can’t get away from that taste.
Preheat your oven to 475.
Wash the peppers and slice the peppers in half, removing the seeds and stem
Place cut-side down on the baking sheet. A silpat or parchment paper makes it easier. You can roast them whole, but it’s harder and messier to remove the seeds, etc.
Roast the peppers for 40 minutes, until soft and nicely charred, as shown below.
Put the pepper halves in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This helps with removal of the skin. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the oil until hot.
Add onion and carrot. Season with the salt, and stir to combine.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrot softens & the onion becomes translucent, 4-5 minutes.
Add in the garlic, tomato paste, & crushed red pepper (if using). Stir to combine, and cook until the tomato paste melts down & the garlic is fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
*I found some sundried tomato paste which I really like and used it here.
Add the basil, thyme, roasted red bell peppers, hot pepper or flakes, tomatoes, vegetable broth, & wine to the pot, stirring to combine. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Carefully transfer the soup to a blender. Blend until smooth & creamy. Carefully transfer the soup back to the pot. Pour the milk into the soup. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup is warmed through.
The soup I had in Paris had a poached egg in the center, which I really enjoyed, so I did it here.
As far as toppings go, you can do just about anything. I went a little topping crazy, and fried some shallots, toasted some pine nuts, and tossed some wheat bread cubes with a little butter, thyme and salt - kitchen sink style. But it was great.
Of course, leaving the soup plain with just a crusty loaf of bread would also be great.
Enjoy. Stay warm & dry.