Today’s Creamy Roasted Pepper Soup is brought to you by my fridge. In my line of work, you often wind up with an excess of something. It could be a glut of apples, an abundance of pie filling, or a small shop’s worth of cheese. The cheese scenario is not as enjoyable as you would imagine. Honestly, handling leftovers is one of the hardest parts of my job. I know you probably don’t feel remotely sorry for me. And I get it, an excess of cake sounds like one of those good problems to have. But trust me, keeping leftovers interesting is no small feat. On the flip side, however, there is nothing more satisfying than transforming leftovers into something completely new.
This past week I did a little work for a produce organization and found myself saddled with a crisper full of bell and mini peppers, a few stray grape tomatoes, and a few other odds and sods. Now, in situations like this where produce is at stake, I like to whip something up that takes care of the whole kit and caboodle. Sure, you could stretch it out over the course of several meals but then you’re playing with fate. Will you get to all the peppers in time? Or will you forget and find a few withered and fuzzy former peppers the next time you clean the fridge.
So when I set out to make use of my peppers, I originally thought of making fajitas. A natural reflex when faced with an abundance of bell peppers. But I was concerned that not even fajitas would take care of the entire inventory. So I decided to make the peppers the main event. I decided to make this Creamy Roasted Pepper Soup.
You’ll notice I don’t call it roasted red pepper soup, which is the title of pretty much every other pepper-centric soup out there. I didn’t use the moniker because I didn’t just use red peppers. I will admit I was a little concerned there was a reason why people only seem to roast and puree red peppers into soup. But now, having made this soup with every pepper in the rainbow, I know there is no reason. Although, I didn’t use green bell peppers because I didn’t have any and I don’t think I would’ve if I had. They tend not to be as sweet as yellow, orange, or red peppers and I have a hunch the green would interrupt the deep orange hue of the finished soup. Aesthetics are important, darling.
This soup couldn’t be easier to put together. Basically, you pile all your peppers onto a sheet pan with whatever other veg you’re keen to make use of. I added about a cup and a half of grape tomatoes because they were kicking around the fridge. They worked really well in this soup. I would strongly endorse using them. They add just a little extra sweetness to the finished bowl, which plays so nicely off of the goat cheese.
Roast your peppers for a while. Seriously, let them hang out in the 400°F oven. We want them singed, so give them half an hour. I would ordinarily pull them at about 20 minutes if I was serving them fresh from the oven. But because they will be pureed, overcooking them is kind of ideal. Plus, those burnt edges add depth and complexity to the finished soup.
While the peppers are roasting, roll some goat cheese into little balls and pop them in the freezer. It’s a lot easier to bread and fry cheese if it’s frozen. One of my favorite things about this recipe is how many things can be done in the background while you move on to the next bit. For instance, while the peppers are roasting and the goat cheese is chilling, we can move on to making the soup.
The Creamy Roasted Pepper Soup starts off as pretty much any soup would, with celery, onion, and carrots. Sauté the veg until the onion is translucent and then add your broth. You can add any broth you like. I went with low-sodium vegetable stock, but if you’re not concerned with keeping things veg and you happen to have chicken stock, use it and don’t look back. Once the stock is in there, add your aromatics, thyme and bay leaves in my case, and at this point, your veg should be done roasting, so add it as well.
If your veg is still roasting at this point, don’t worry. Just turn the heat to low and simmer the stock with your mirepoix until your veg is good to go. Soup is a very forgiving beast. Once your roasted veg is in, bring the soup to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. While your soup is simmering you can fish the goat cheese out of the freezer, bread them, and fry them. Again, if you’re not finished with the goat cheese when your soup is done simmering, just let it simmer on. It will only deepen in flavor.
Once your soup is in a happy place, it’s time to puree it. You can do this soup in a food processor or using an immersion blender. From here you can strain the soup for a smoother consistency. I opted not to strain my soup due to laziness. So my bowl was a little chunky but it really didn’t bother me in the least. Once your soup is where you want it, add the cream, stir, and you’re off to the races. Top your soup with the goat cheese croutons and dig in.
So that’s everything you need to know about this Creamy Roasted Pepper Soup with Fried Goat Cheese. This is such a simple and decadent way to meet your daily veggie requirements. And quite frankly, the fried goat cheese is begging to be experienced.
Creamy Roasted Pepper Soup with Fried Goat Cheese
- 1 Large pot
- 1 Large baking sheet
- 1 Large skillet
- 1 Immersion blender or food processor
- 454g (1lb) peppers ** seeded, and coarsely chopped
- 255g (9oz) grape tomatoes
- 3 tbsp olive oil divided
- 200g (7oz) goat cheese
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 3 carrots *** peeled and chopped
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and thinly sliced
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 6-8 sprigs fresh thyme tied together with butcher's twine
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- olive oil for frying
- ½ cup heavy cream
- fresh pea shoots for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper and set it aside.
- Arrange the peppers and tomatoes on the large baking sheet. Drizzle the veg with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and generously sprinkle them with salt. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and roast for 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet once halfway through. You want the peppers to have a good char on the edges.454g (1lb) peppers **, 255g (9oz) grape tomatoes, 3 tbsp olive oil
- While the peppers are in the oven, roll the goat cheese into a series of small balls, using a teaspoon measure as a guide. Arrange the goat cheese on a plate and transfer it to the freezer. Freeze for 30 minutes.200g (7oz) goat cheese
- Pour the remaining olive oil into a large, heavy-bottom pot. Place the pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is simmering, add the onions, carrot, and celery along with a generous pinch of salt. Sauté the veg until the onions are translucent. Stir in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute more.3 tbsp olive oil, 1 yellow onion, 3 carrots ***, 3 stalks celery, 3 cloves garlic
- Pour in the stock and add the roasted vegetables. Bring the soup up to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Add the bay leaves and thyme and simmer for 15-20 minutes.6 cups low-sodium vegetable stock, 2 bay leaves, 6-8 sprigs fresh thyme
- While the soup is simmering, bread the goat cheese. Working one ball at a time, roll the goat cheese first in the cornstarch, then the egg, and finally the panko breadcrumbs. Repeat until all the goat cheese is breaded.1/4 cup cornstarch, 1 large egg, ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Pour an inch of olive oil into a large skillet. Add the goat cheese and fry, turning frequently, until the goat cheese is golden on all sides. Transfer the goat cheese to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.olive oil
- When the soup is done simmering, remove the bay leaves and thyme. Take the soup off of the heat and using a food processor or immersion blender, puree until smooth.**** Stir in the cream and taste. Season with salt accordingly.½ cup heavy cream
- Divide the soup across four bowls and top each with 4 fried goat cheese croutons and some fresh pea shoots. Finish the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and serve immediately.fresh pea shoots