Sweet Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Soup

Pin It You may have heard about the deep freeze that has swept across Europe the past week and a half.  I wouldn't say Belgium has been hit hard (like northern Europe), but it is definitely COLD.  As a Wisconsin girl, I should be more accustomed to these sort of temperatures (after all I did do the Polar Bear plunge on NYD: see post one for that!), but it came outta no where!  None the less....this brings me to food post one!  Sweet Roasted Red Pep & Basil Soup.  Say it with me now.  Sounds good, right?  It is my own little version of the many Red Pepper soup recipes out on the internet.  After all, nothing warms your bones like a nice pot of soup, and if you roast the peppers yourself you can leave the oven door open afterwards and warm your house a bit, too!  It was my first attempt at this soup, and roasting peppers... but I think both turned out quite nice in the end.

 Give the peppers a good rinsing and of course, de-sticker
 Cut peppers in half and de-seed

If you are like most normal people, line the peppers skin side up on a baking sheet.  if you are like me, use aluminum foil (my baking sheet is too big for my oven).  European's have little ovens.  Put them in the oven at 500 on the broil setting for about 15-20 minutes.  You want to roast them until the skin turns black and blistery.  Oh yeah, throw on an unpeeled clove of garlic or two!  We'll roast that, too (not shown in photo, added later).  
While the peps are roasting, chop one small onion, two garlic cloves, and grab about 10 basil leaves from your plant  (garlic zoom. best chopper.  Maybe that is because my old garlic chopper was Paul)
Once the peppers have blackened, you can remove them from the over.  I had read to place them in a plastic bag for 15 minutes and the skin will peel right off,  but while I was maneuvering them into the bag, the skin started to come off.  So, I just let them cool for a minute on the counter.

 While the peps cool for a minute, start sauteeing the onion and garlic.

Peel the skin off with tongs, or if it is cool enough to handle, your hands.
Add 3.5 cups of chicken stock (i used boullion), the peppers, the roasted clove of garlic or two(de-shelled) and a spoonful of tomato paste (tip: freeze the rest for the next time you need just a little bit for a soup or stew).  Break apart the peppers a bit with a wooden cooking spoon.

Add the basil, a dash of salt, and some cracked pepper.

Blend with an immersion blender (or throw it in the blender once it cools a bit, then reheat).  I had this for about a year and never really knew when to use it.  Turns out its great for blending soups.  any other uses?  Beats me. remember I am what I like to refer to as a novice cook.  
Add a dash of oregano and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes, to let the flavors blend together.
Voila.  add some crushed red pepper, greek yogurt (or sour cream, i use greek to kick up the nutritional value a bit), basil, and if you wish some shredded cheese.  Serving suggestions: crusty bread or an old fashioned grilled cheese (no kraft, please).


4 large red bell peppers
3-4 cloves garlic (2 for roasting, 2 for chopping)
1 small onion
3 and 1/2 cup chicken stock (or veggie)
10 basil leaves 
a spoonful of tomato paste
cracked pepper and sea salt
a dash of oregano

for garnish:  
crushed red pepper
basil for garnish
plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
shredded cheese
a side of grilled cheese 

Start by washing the red pepper very well.  Slice peppers in half and de-seed.  Set skin side up on a baking sheet with one-two cloves of garlic (skin on) and broil at 500 degrees for about 15 - 20 minutes.  While peps are broiling, chop one small onion, and two cloves garlic.  Rinse and set aside 10 basil leaves.  Once peppers have blackened and blistered, remove from oven.  Set in plastic bag if needed, or let cool on counter.  Begin sauteeing the onions and garlic in a large stock pot until softened.  Remove skin from peppers. add chicken stock and skinless peps to the pot.  Add a spoonful of tomato paste, cracker pepper, and a dash of sea salt if needed.  add basil.  immersion blend, or cool and blend in a blender. (please make sure it has cooled.. and that the bottom of your blender is screwed on tight).  Add a dash of oregano and simmer for 20 minutes. add crushed red pepper, a dallop of greek-yo, and basil for garnish.  Do yourself a favor and serve with a side of grilled cheese, trust me on this one. 

Bon Appetit!  

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