This is another favorite around here, especially considering the ridiculous crop of red peppers that grew in the garden this summer (and frankly won't stop growing. Did we get tomatoes this year? Hardly. Are the red peppers so abundant that I have to wonder if the neighbor's satellite dish is creating some sort of concentrated radioactivity, aimed right at the pepper bed? Definitely.)
As with all my other camping soups, this one requires only one pot over one burner, though you may want to roast your peppers over that burner first. Otherwise, they may be roasted at home in the oven (500 degree broiler, spray with olive oil, turn them every couple of minutes until charred), or over a flame (using tongs, roast them until bubbly and charred, turning regularly). When you're finished, it's best to peel and seed them right away, as soon as you can safely touch them -- waiting too long makes peeling more difficult. HOWEVER, if you're going to make this entire soup at your campsite, skip the peeling and just pull out the seeds.
It's best to make this at home, so you can use an immersion blender to create the smooth texture we love. If you'd rather do this at your campsite, the texture will be chunky, but the taste is still quite wonderful. Take along a few extra roasted peppers, as they're excellent dipped in the soup and eaten on their own.
This is a vegan dish to boot -- but feel free to substitute chicken or turkey stock for the vegetable stock, if keeping the recipe vegan is not important to you.
(And pardon the lousy photo...it's finally raining here so we have no natural lighting inside, too much water outside!)
4 large red bell peppers, roasted OR 8 small medium heat chili peppers, roasted OR 1 12-oz jar pre-roasted red peppers, in water (not oil)...available at Trader Joe's and other grocers
2 T olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-oz can drained plum tomatoes
1 cup white wine
4-5 cups vegetable broth
scant 1/8 t cinnamon
scant 1/8 t ground cloves
salt and pepper
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish if desired
Feta cheese for garnish, if desired (and if keeping this dish vegan is not important to you)
- Roast peppers as described above, or drain jar of peppers.
- Heat oil in stock pot until shimmering. Add onion and celery, and cook, stirring, until onion is soft and lightly browned -- about seven minutes.
- Add garlic and cook another two minutes.
- Add tomatoes, and cook another two minutes.
- Deglaze the pot with wine, scraping the bottom. Add broth, spices, and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, blend soup until creamy and smooth. Add water or stock if necessary, but only add 1 T at a time. (I making this at your campsite, crush tomatoes and peppers as much as possible, and add another ten minutes to your cooking time to help soften vegetables further).
- Season again with salt and pepper, and serve with feta and cilantro, if desired.