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I don’t know about you, but by the time January 1 makes its appearance, I’ve finally hit a wall when it comes to food. More accurately, at about December 29, I find myself desperately craving a big green leafy salad or a plate of nothing more than a steamed mound of broccoli florets, without a speck of anything remotely resembling a carbohydrate, protein or sugar.

But, then, I realize that New Year’s Eve, then New Year’s Day looms and, chances are, many ungreen items are going to find their way onto my plate. I did get a little respite from the feasting when I decided to share a gorgeous, healthy puree of red-and-yellow bell pepper soup I put together earlier this year. It’s party pretty with its vibrant orange tint, and skinny, calorie-wise, when you consider that it contains no cream, butter or flour. That’s what’s so charming about puréed soups – they don’t require any fattening ingredients for the thickening process.

This soup not only is pretty to look at, but it boasts a creamy, complex flavor and it’s a cinch to make. Even your gluten-free and vegetarian friends can indulge. 

Note that it’s perfumed with hot smoked paprika, and while you can ratchet it down a bit if you can’t handle too much spice, don’t leave it out altogether or you’ll be eliminating the backbone of this soup.

If you’re looking for a healthy start to the new year, consider making pureed red-and-yellow bell pepper soup. If you do, let me know what you think. Dying to hear. 

Puréed Red & Yellow Bell Pepper Soup

Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large shallots, diced

3 large carrots, scraped and diced

1 medium russet potato (or Yukon Gold, not a red waxy one), peeled and diced

2 red bell peppers, chopped

2 yellow or orange bell peppers, chopped (Don’t use green because they don’t have the same mild, sweet flavor of the red, yellow or orange peppers.)

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon ground thyme

1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika (feel free to add a bit more or less to suit your taste.)

1 teaspoon salt

Black pepper to taste

1 quart (32 ounces) of chicken or vegetable broth (I had glace de poulet gold on hand, which I diluted with enough water to cover the vegetables)

Red pepper soup ingredients

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and add the shallots. Stir them around for a minute or two until they start to soften.

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Add the carrots and potato. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, while stirring on occasion. If they start sticking, add a dab of water or broth to the pan.

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Add the bell peppers, garlic, thyme and paprika. Stir for a minute or two while the garlic cooks through, taking care not to let the garlic burn.

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Add salt and pepper, then pour in the broth. Cover the pan and simmer about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

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Blend with an immersion blender (make sure you get it very smooth.) or in a traditional blender.

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Printable recipe:

Puréed Red & Yellow Bell Pepper Soup

Serves 4 to 6

 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large shallots, diced

3 large carrots, scraped and diced

1 medium russet potato (or Yukon Gold, not a red waxy one), peeled and diced

2 red bell peppers, chopped

2 yellow or orange bell peppers, chopped (Don’t use green because they don’t have the same mild, sweet flavor of the red, yellow or orange peppers.)

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon ground thyme

1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika (feel free to add a bit more or less to suit your taste.)

1 teaspoon salt

Black pepper to taste

1 quart (32 ounces) of chicken or vegetable broth (I had glace de poulet gold on hand, which I diluted with enough water to cover the vegetables)

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and add the shallots. Stir them around for a minute or two until they start to soften.

Add the carrots and potato. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, while stirring on occasion. If they start sticking, add a dab of water or broth to the pan.

Add the bell peppers, garlic, thyme and paprika. Stir for a minute or two while the garlic cooks through, taking care to let the garlic burn.

 Add salt and pepper, then pour in the broth. Cover the pan and simmer about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

Blend with an immersion blender (make sure you get it very smooth.)or a traditional blender.