Happy first day of fall! 'Tis the season of golden afternoons and chilly eves. Have you noticed how quickly the sun is setting these days? We love a pot of soup to take the off the autumnal chill. But just because we're talking soup doesn't mean we have to reach for the winter squash just yet. Sweet peppers, which are in all their glory right now, make splendid soup. Start to finish, dinner is ready in an hour, with top-shelf leftovers for the next day. Wallingford pepper people are: Alvarez Organic Farms, Around the Table Farm, Growing Washington and Seattle Youth Garden Works.
Roasted Sweet Pepper Soup
- 3 medium-size sweet peppers -- any shade of red or orange will do
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
- 3 medium-size potatoes (about 1 pound; Yukon Gold, Yellow Finn, German Butterball or red-skinned are all great choices), peeled and quartered
- 1 to 2 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Optional: A few lemon wedges for finishing
Roast the peppers: You may do this on a grill, on top of the stove in a cast-iron skillet or in a 400-degree oven. Roast until thoroughly blistered and charred, at least 20 minutes.Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover to create steam to help loosen the skins, at least 15 minutes. With the help of a paring knife, remove the skins, but resist the urge to rinse --- you'll lose all that good flavor. Slice open the peppers and remove the seeds and veins, then chop coarsely.
Meanwhile, get the rest of the soup going: In a medium-size saucepan, warm up the oil over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is slightly softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the potatoes, thyme, water and salt. Bring to a lively simmer, then lower the heat, cover and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the herb sprigs, add the peppers and cider vinegar and stir in the cayenne and smoked paprika. Puree until smooth and free of lumps: A stick immersion blender is particularly handy here, but a stand blender works well -- but you may need to puree in batches.
Taste for salt and add more as needed. Reheat the soup and serve hot, with lemon wedges, if you like, for a finishing spritz.
Makes 4 servings.