Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kitchen Disaster - Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Tonight is basically a tale of kitchen disaster. Not the quiet night of a long bike ride, soup and some armchair reading I wanted it to be. The soup plan went awry when I hit the handle of the very full stock pot with my elbow and it went crashing to the floor. Soup. Went. Everywhere. My white cupboards stained an embarrassing red, the steaming liquid seeping into the cracks of the floor. It was a mess. So that batch was a loss. I took a few breaths, cleaned it up and started a new batch, determined to have my roasted red pepper soup. I seem to have these major kitchen spills/disasters about once every couple of months. Last time it was a full pot of orzo, just cooked. Soup is worse. Much messier.

Roasted Red Pepper soup is my best friend Lauren's specialty. She got it from her Aunt, apparently it's a specialty at her New Mexican Restaurant. It's become a bit of a tradition to make a batch of this around New Year's. Typically our group of friends head up to Tahoe to stay at a cabin and hole up for a weekend of sledding, snowshoeing, eating and intense games of Monopoly and Risk. This soup comes together so quickly, and is so comforting and filling with a slice of good crusty bread, a crunch salad and a glass of red wine. It's our first task on our first night at the cabin (after building the sled run and icing it down of course) and I look forward to it every year.

But why reserve it just for the months of December and January? That doesn't seem fair. Poor neglected Red Pepper Soup. You are not just for the winter months. You'll do just fine on a crisp October evening.

Well, when you're not all over my floor that is. I much prefer you in my bowl, and not all over my cabinets.

Lauren's Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Can easily be made vegan by using olive oil in place of butter, omitting the cream and using vegetable broth or water in place of chicken broth.

2 16oz jars roasted red bell peppers
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 tbsp butter
4 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 cup cream
salt to taste
basil & Parmesan for garnish

Drain and rinse the peppers, set aside. Saute onion in butter until soft and translucent. Add the peppers to the onion and saute about 5 minutes to help break the mixture down. Add to cuisine-art and blend until mixture is well combined. Add to a stock-pot or large saucepan with chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the paprika, cayenne and salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cream and stir. Dish up and garnish with basil and Parmesan.

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