If you follow my blog then you know that my husband and I recently had a mini vacation in Quebec City, Quebec. We ate at our hotel restaurant a few times because they have fabulous food. One of the most memorable items from their menu was what they called a red pepper soup. (The name was a bit lost in the translation, but we’re pretty sure that’s what they said.) It was amazing! We ordered it two nights in a row and we took turns eating it in hopes that we could pick out the ingredients and make it at home. Two people sitting in a fancy restaurant smacking their mouths trying to identify every little bit that made it taste like it did was probably a little funny looking, but it was worth it. In the end we came back and had a good idea about how to make it ourselves.
Our best theory, backed up with some internet searching and comparison of recipes to what we remembered resulted in this recipe. A spicy roasted red pepper and tomato based soup with fresh basil. The only problem we found was that it didn’t make enough.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup Recipe
(Makes 4 servings)
- 3 red bell peppers
- 1 large tomato
- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon fresh basil, julienne
- Heat your oven on the broil setting.
- Line a baking sheet with tin foil and place the red peppers on the baking sheet. Broil them until the skin blisters and chars. Turn the peppers until all sides have been roasted. Let them cool until you can handle them and remove the skin and seeds. If you roasted them properly, the removal of the skin should be super easy.
- Chop the peppers into 2 inch pieces.
- Peel the tomato and then cut it into quarters and remove the seeds.
- In a large pot, add the roasted chopped red peppers, cut and peeled tomato, chicken stock, smoked paprika, cayenne, and salt. Bring it to a boil and then simmer it for 10 minutes, or until the vegetable are very soft.
- Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend until it’s smooth.
- Return the mixture to the pot.
- Stir in the half and half and cut fresh basil. Stir and cook until it’s warm enough to serve.
Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Since the main flavor comes from the red peppers I wanted to go through the effort of roasting them instead of buying them pre-roasted in a jar. It’s easy to roast fresh red peppers. The broiler does all the work for you. Try to avoid peppers that are caved in on one side because it makes them very difficult to roast evenly.
I found it easiest to peel the tomatoes with a peeler first. Then quarter them and scoop out the seeds. The seeds and goop inside a tomato aren’t very enticing on a normal day, but they make especially lousy soup ingredients. Look, it’s a pot of red stuff. The finished soup will look nothing like this. With all of the ingredients in the pot, my kitchen smells like bacon. Why? That’s what smoked paprika smells like. I learn something new everyday. 🙂
I forgot to take pictures of what the soup looks like in the food processor (a side effect of multi-tasking, sorry!) Be careful not to over fill your food processor! If you need to do this step in more than one round in the food processor, please do so. Our food processor is an 11 cup and was barely big enough. In fact, we made a little bit of a mess in the process. Your goal here is very very smooth. Don’t forget to add the soup back into the pot to add the half and half and fresh basil.
Do not mistake the look of this soup as a boring tomato soup! While there are tomatoes in this recipe, the roasted red peppers and various spices really shine here.
Roasted red peppers taste different than fresh ones. The act of roasting them brings out their natural sweetness and gives them a hint of smoky flavor, which adds a depth of flavor to this soup.
Also, this soup is spicy! The heat will definitely warm you up on a cool day. If you aren’t a fan of spicy things, simply reduce the amount of cayenne pepper. Since a lot of what made this soup amazing in the restaurant was the surprising spicy kick it had, I don’t recommend you remove the cayenne altogether.
I love fresh basil. Gosh, it smells so good when I pull it straight from our plant. 🙂 It goes perfectly with the other flavors in this soup. A touch of half and half adds just the right amount of richness to this soup.
This soup is light so I suggest eating it as an appetizer for dinner or with a sandwich for lunch. I promise you that this soup is a bazillion times better than tomato soup from a can.
The vibrant color of this soup stands out especially set in a white bowl. This soup makes me feel like I’m back in Quebec City. 🙂
Adapted from: Healthy Delicious
Tis’ the soup season. Looking for other recipes?