Sunday, July 25, 2010

Beat the heat.... Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Yes, I do realize these are tomatoes and not peppers... keep your pants on they're coming

It's hot.... it's TOO HOT!  I know there are some people that make an honest effort about never complaining about the weather, because they wanted it to be hot all Winter.  I am not one of those people.  There are days (this year there are many days) that are just too stinking hot and no amount of frigid winter weather (that is long forgotten by July) will ever make me forget that a heat index of 115 and 1000% humidity is WAY TOO HOT!

Especially when you are faced with the task of feeding a few faces every night in said heat and humidity.  What to make when the mere thought of boiling water raises the temperature in your micro-kitchen a few degrees?

Step 1:  Forget everything you know about what should constitute a well rounded meal.  You feed your family normal meals approximately 328 days a year.  This number is completely pulled out of the air and has no statistical relevence whatesoever but I assume it gives enough room for two weeks of too hot to cook days in the summer, and the rest is filled with things out of desperation, like chicken nuggest, and fast food drive through.  Anyway.... a couple of days with some random food stuffs isn't going to cause malnutrition.

fruit salad sneaks in all the goodie phytochemicals in, when served with lemon-ricotta pancakes your youngest child will promise to never put you in a nursing home

Step 2:  Buy a pre-cooked roaster chicken from the grocery store, a block of good quality cheese (make sure it is pasturized, not a soft mold ripened cheese, or goat cheese if you're pregnant.  Hey it sucks but it's science, it could do some serious damage to your developing child.  NO that is not opinion.  Listeria is is a scientifically proven fact, want to be a google.  Stay away until after delivery.  Trust me that is easier said than done for me.  If you're doctor says it's okay I recommend getting a doctor that didn't fail Microbiology), a loaf of decent bread, a jar of pickles, a jar of olives, and a tomato and/or cucumber.  Take all the meat off a chicken, put the bones in a bag in the freezer for later stocks.  Throw everything else on a plate (maybe you help the ones under 4 with the knife) and voila.  Meal 1 accomplished.

Step 3:  Realize you cannot feed your family or yourself a bunch of cheese, pickled items, and cold chicken for the next two weeks.

Step 4:  PANIC.

Step 5:  Find other heat friendly meals that aren't just salad.

Step 6: Use this post as a way of sneaking in your mother-in-laws amazing Roasted Red Pepper Soup, and fulfill the request of one of your friends for the recipe at the same time... sneaky, sneaky.

I never got a chance to take a final pictures, you know with the heat and all, so that is another reason I am sneaking it into this post.  I'm not sure if hot soup sounds like a good idea to some of you when it's hot outside, but honestly I love soup any time, and as long as whatever it is I'm cooking doesn't make the inside temperature of my kitchen, match the outside temperature, it's all good!

Roasted Red Pepper and Potato Soup

The Mother-in-Law's Recipe

*5 large red bell peppers
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup butter
8 cups (2L) chicken broth  (can substitute veg. broth for a vegetarian version)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1/3 cup finely chopped basil
Dash of Angustura bitters (find this with the alcohol drink mixers)
Freshly ground pepper to taste


Wash peppers and leave them whole. Place them on a hot barbecue grill or under the broiler and cook until the skin closest to the flame or element is charred and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Using tongs to turn the peppers, continue charring until skin is blackened on all sides. Remove from heat and put into a paper bag. Close tightly and let sit about 10 minutes or until the skin peels easily. Remove all the skin and seeds and dice flesh. Melt butter over medium-low heat and add the onion and garlic. Saute for 10 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the red peppers and chicken broth, cook for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook an additional 15 minutes.

Puree the soup in the blender and return to the pot. Add the basil and Angostura bitters. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stir well. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

* Can substitute jarred roasted red peppers. Wash them well and remove any charred skin before chopping.  However which would you rather eat?  The right is a pile of sad, droopy jarred peppers that I keep on hand for those days that I don't have the extra 2 minutes to roast a fresh one, or say have used a couple of red peppers because I forgot they were marked for soup.  And the left is a freshly roasted pepper.  There is no comparison really.

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