If you’ve never roasted peppers before, now’s the time to learn. It’s easy, as long as you’re not afraid of a little smoke and you don’t mind the smell of pot. Roasting peppers is a process in which you purposely char their outside skins (food burners, this is your shot!), then peel the skins off, leaving behind a unique smoky flavor and soft, smooth, flavorful flesh. At home, I roast peppers by broiling them close to the top of the oven, but you can also do it by holding a pepper over your stove’s open gas flame, turning it as the flesh burns. Either way, the smell is quite reminiscent of less legal activities, and the flavor goes a long way.
If you’re going to go through the trouble to roast and peel peppers, fill up the baking sheet (while you’re at it), and use the extras later on sandwiches, in spreads, and on pizza.
Two-Pepper Soup (PDF)
Recipe 287 of 365
Poblano peppers have a mellow, sneaky spice. They’re mild and sweet at first, but the longer they stay in your mouth, the more you begin to taste their soft heat. Here’s a clean, lean, straightforward soup that celebrates their flavor. Top with sour cream, crème fraiche, or a little cheese (creamy blue or goat), if you’d like.
TIME: 1 hour, start to finish
MAKES: 4 servings
4 poblano peppers
4 green bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups chicken stock (homemade, if possible), plus more to thin the soup, if desired
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Preheat your oven’s broiler. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the peppers on the foil, and broil the peppers (about 1” from the heating unit), turning every five minutes or so, until completely blackened on all surfaces, about 20 to 30 minutes total. As the peppers are done (they won’t all blacken at the same time), transfer them to a large heatproof bowl, and seal with plastic wrap or foil. When all the peppers have been added, seal the bowl again, and let steam for 10 minutes. (The steam from the peppers lifts the skins off, so they’re easier to peel.) Peel and seed the peppers under a thin stream of cold running water, removing as many seeds as possible, and roughly chop the roasted peppers.
Meanwhile, heat a soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the oil, then the onion, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, roasted peppers, and any accumulated pepper juice, season again with salt and pepper, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Carefully puree the soup in small batches in a blender or food processor (or using an immersion blender), and return to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add more stock, if necessary, to make the soup thinner, if desired. Add the butter, and stir to melt it into the soup. Serve hot.