Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Taste Buds: Roasted Red Pepper Soup


I will be honest this recipe is labour intensive and takes some time and effort to prepare but the outcome, oh the GLORIOUS outcome is a soup that is rich and complex in its flavour. It is well worth the time. I love making huge amounts of soup so I can store at least half for another week. They make excellent healthy meals that are quick and good for you. With my husband working an insane amount of hours and his choices of food at work being limited to mostly high calorie takeout he has started taking these more healthy soups for his dinner.

The roasted red peppers are what takes the most time in this recipe. You want to refrigerate the chicken broth overnight so it is nice and cold. Put the peppers on a broiler pan, with the setting on the highest broiling setting, close to the heating coils and turn every 5-10 minutes. You want them to get black but never to turn white ashy. This requires a bit of constant watching on your part but in the end these peppers just fill your kitchen with the most DIVINE smell.


While they are broiling put the cold chicken broth in a large bowl. Once the peppers are nice and black (do not wash them) dip them into the cold chicken broth. In essence you are quickly stopping the cooking process while also loosening the skin so it is easy to remove, this also prevents you from burning your fingers.

On a cutting board with a liquid channel (so the juices wont escape) remove the skin with your fingers and put the skins into a side bowl. Gently remove the seeds. Once all the skins are removed put the skins and the juice from the board through a strainer squeezing the mess in the strainer to extract every bit of yummy juice. You want to catch as much juice as you can and add this to the soup pot, every drop makes your soup that much better.

4 cups dried white beans
16 cups chicken broth
17 red bell peppers
3 medium sized onions
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
3 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
8 garlic cloves
1/8 cup white wine
1 head of cauliflower

1. Soak the beans overnight
2. In a very large stock pot put beans and 10 cups of the chicken broth over medium heat stirring every fifteen minutes until at a rolling boil. Once boiling turn the burner to low and let simmer stirring every 15 minutes.
2. Roast and peel the red peppers, see above. Chop 4 of them and add to the stock pot. Chop the remaining 13 peppers and set aside.
3. Over medium heat warm three tablespoons of the oil and cook onions until translucent, about 10 minutes. Set aside 2/3 of the onions and put the remaining 1/3 in the pot.
4. Rough chop the chicken and sauté with salt, pepper, thyme and ½ tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until cooked through. Put in container and store in the fridge for later.
4. In the same pan that you cooked the chicken cook minced garlic in ½ tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic to the stock pot. Taking 1/8 cup of wine and deglaze the pan of its juices by swirling around the wine for a minute. Add wine deglazing to the stock pot.
5. Puree the roasted peppers and onions that you had set aside in food processer with the six cups of remaining chicken broth until ultra smooth. Add to the stock pot.
6. Rough chop the cauliflower and add to the stock pot.
7. Cook over low heat for about two hours. You want the beans to be fully cooked and not crunchy so keep taste testing until they are nice and tender. Once the beans are cooked add the chicken back in the pot and simmer for 20 minutes until warm. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 5 days or the freezer for about 3 months.

CALORIES IN THIS MEAL: 244 per serving (18 servings with 2 cups per serving)

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