Friday, February 11, 2011

Pepper & Potato Soup

Pepper & Potato Soup
In an ongoing effort to continue eating organic fruits and vegetables and, at the same time, support local farms, the Vegetarian and I joined Winter Sun Farms CSA. What's really special about this particular CSA is that they deliver locally grown, flash-frozen summer produce--in the depths of winter. So, as we're getting tired of only finding root vegetables at the Greenmarket, now our freezer has a beautiful assortment of summer fruits and vegetables: diced mixed peppers, blueberries, sweet corn, Carolina Gold tomatoes, butternut squash puree, green beans and fresh pea shoots. We pick up this array of goodies once a month, through April, at which point spring produce will be in full force. The other nice thing about everything being frozen is that we don't have to worry about using it immediately (except the pea shoots, of course. Any suggestions?)

Dinner last night came, as usual, from a couple of sources. First, since we had leftover potatoes from our mashed celery potatoes earlier this week, I knew I wanted to use those. And what better use for potatoes in February then in a soup? The recipe inspiration came from a cookbook I found waiting to be thrown out in my old building in Chelsea--Quick and Healthy Home Cooking. The book itself is rather shticky--all the recipes are either below a certain carb count or take fewer than 30 minutes to cook--and this particular one was made entirely in the microwave! So I knew I had to adapt it to the stovetop. (Even though, for the first time since college, I now reside with a microwave, I still have no desire to use it for anything other than reheating and occasionally making popcorn.) The original recipe was also for a beet & potato soup--sufficiently wintry, of course, but we had bell peppers in the freezer! That, and the vegetarian isn't so into beets. So then I poked around online and found Elise's recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Potato Soup. Perfection! A quick combination of the two recipes and we were in business. Enjoy!

Pepper & Potato Soup

  • 23 ounces mixed bell peppers, diced (about 4)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 5 red-skinned potatoes, diced
  • 1 russet potato, diced
  • 1 fuji apple, peeled, cored and grated (I did this in the food processor--much easier)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch thyme, dried
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
  • sour creamto taste (optional)
  • brown rice, cooked (optional)
  • several sprigs dill leaf, to garnish
Preheat oven to 350F. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Toss peppers with olive oil and spread out on pan. Roast for 20 minutes, until quite fragrant. Remove and set aside.

In a medium stockpot, mix together onion, potatoes, apple and water. Steam, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in cumin and cook another minute. Add peppers (and their oil), bay leaf, thyme, lemon juice and vegetable broth. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to very low and simmer for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and let rest 5 minutes.

Remove bay leaf and discard. Transfer contents of pot (in batches!) to food processor and pulse until smooth. Stir in salt and pepper. If necessary, return soup to pot and reheat. Garnish with sour cream (if desired--I did, the vegetarian didn't) and dill. If you want something heartier, stir in some cooked brown rice (the vegetarian did; I found it delightful as is. Serve warm.

Links to other pepper potato soup noshes:

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