Roasted Red Pepper Soup

September 4, 2010


Appetizers, Dinner, Local Eating, Lunch, Recipes, Seasons, Side Dishes, Soup, Summer

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I love a late summer pepper. There are so many iterations: hot, not. Red, orange, yellow…. My favorites are multi-colored, those that haven’t graduated from one stage to the next. The fact that peppers change color as they age really excites me. Also, the older they get, the more I like them. I appreciate that. It’s a satisfying thought for a woman who’s about to round the corner into her late twenties. No matter: I plan to live a long time. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve barely completed my transition from green to yellow Isabel-pepper.

If I end my life feeling like a crimson bell pepper, I know I will have lived to height of my sweetness. I plan to be a very delicious old woman. But here the simile ends, because I cannot compare my life so far to that of a green pepper. I love my life—it has already been ripe, juicy, satisfying. Green peppers, on the other hand, are repulsive. I find them entirely too bitter to eat raw, although I might eat one roasted-if the alternative were starvation. In fact, green peppers may be the one and only food I have a genuine distaste for based on flavor and not on principles. (Although I don’t make a habit of eating babies, I’d be a liar if I told you my mouth didn’t water at the scent of roasting lamb…)


Where summer is concerned, I can bring back my literary device. We are heading out of this sweet time, but just before we do, the Earth seems to offer up her very best—her reddest peppers. I can’t eat nearly as many as I can procure in the next few weeks, but I can convert a good many into soup to enjoy during colder months, where the lushness of a bell pepper can only be imported—flown from timeless, far away lands, like California.

This recipe actually came to me from a spa in the Golden State, where I’m sure they never suffer a dearth of fresh produce. It’s intended to be rather light, and I like it the way it is. If you prefer more depth to your soup, the coconut milk is easily substituted with ½ cup of cream. I have stored away a few batches, and look forward to revisiting the taste of early September when the days are very dark and I’ve gotten tired of sweet potatoes. I may polish it off sooner than that, though, as it’s absolutely delicious chilled and served with sliced avocado, or just a few sprigs of cilantro.


Roasted Red Pepper Soup

4 large red bell peppers

4 large tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 large chopped yellow onion

4 cups chicken broth

¾ cup light coconut milk

salt and pepper

garnish of your choice


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Coat the peppers and tomatoes with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.

Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until the skin begins to peel and blacken.

Remove peppers and tomatoes and place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle.

Peel and roughly chop peppers and tomatoes, being sure to collect their juice in a bowl.

Discard stems and skins.

In a large saucepan, heat remaining olive oil and sauté onion until translucent.

Add tomatoes and peppers and sweat over low heat for 2-3 minutes.

Add flour and stir to coat.

Add chicken broth and coconut milk and simmer for 30 minutes, adding more broth if the soup reduces too much.

Puree in a blender and pass through a sieve or food mill if desired.

Keep warm, or serve chilled, with garnish.

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