soup-er soup-remely delish.
It's autumn (!!!!!!!!!). A lot of musicals have giant showstopping numbers about months - "June is busting out all over," "The Lusty Month of May," "Try to remember the month of September," (ok, not a showstopper, but still intricately lovely). Why doesn't October get its due?
The harvest is pretty giant at this point. All the delicious stuff from the garden is stockpiling. The tomato plants are giving us their last hurrah - the squash are partying like it's pre-recession 2000s. I planted bell and habanero peppers in Santa Fe while I was in residence with the opera company all summer. To my dismay, they refused to blossom until late in August. The first, tiny, little fruit came the day I was packing up.
Back on the east coast, where the fall season is rolling in along with its notorious vibrant leaves, I'd planted no such peppers. But I still longed for something sweet and earthy, and so I decided I wanted to try out a vegetable soup with autumnal colors. It's the season of orange. Orange bell peppers were a go.
Let me pause here to make a brief disclaimer: these recipes are not professional quality. They are inventions of improvisation and passion, often tested only once, usually yielding delicious and beautiful results. But I'm often Just Like You: I'm busy and then hungry, so I'm doing that "Chopped"-style what's-in-my-kitchen, ok-let's-do-this thing. I'm hoping this can also be a resource for people who love bold flavors and putzing around in the kitchen, but who maybe are not ultra left-brained when it comes to following a recipe. In fact, this article is about problem solving methodically vs. creatively (spoiler alert: creative thinkers work differently, oftentimes deriving insight from experiences or whims that lead to an "aha!" moment).
So if you're ok with that, then let's do this!
Roasted Bell Pepper Soup with Crumbled Bacon
Yield: 3-4 servings
Time: 45 min
Ingredients and Tools
3 medium to large orange or red bell peppers
1 habanero pepper
1 medium yellow onion
8 oz stock (I used vegetable but you could use chicken if you prefer)
1 package of bacon (you can leave this out if you want to make a vegetarian or vegan dish)
tumeric and paprika to taste
around 2 tablespoons of salt
pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay out tin foil on a cookie sheet. Rinse off the peppers and parsnips and arrange them on the sheet, whole. Peel the onion, cut off the top and the bottom and then quarter it. To retrace your steps so far: the sheet should have three bell peppers, a habanero pepper, a quartered onion, and two parsnips.
• Drizzle the quarter cup of olive oil all over the vegetables. Sprinkle enough turmeric and paprika to get a little bit on every vegetable. Do the same sprinkling with a tablespoon of salt and some cracked pepper. Put that bad boy in the oven and set a timer for half an hour. Or don't. Sometimes I get distracted. Just don't let it burn!
• After the half hour, flip the vegetables over so they can sear in the now quite hot oil for a minute or so. Remove the sheet from the oven and start putting your veggies in the food processor - you'll have to remove the tops from the parsnips and the peppers. Pour the remaining, now-flavored olive oil from the cookie sheet into the food processor. I made a little spout with the side of the tin foil. Blend.
• Pour your now blended, roasted veggies into a pot and add the 8 oz of stock. Cook on low to blend and add in the extra tbsp of salt and the brown sugar. Stir just enough to blend into one consistency and take off the heat.
• Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a pan for about 2 min, or long enough to get crispy on one side, and then turn over and put a cover on the pan for about 1 min more. Take off the heat and let sit for a min with the cover still on. Remove the bacon and chop it up. It's not only a tasty garnish for the soup, but it adds a satisfying texture, giving this soup star quality as a main dish.
Happy eating! And happy autumn to you, too.