Soup Week!: Yellow Pepper and Pine Nut Soup

Yellow Pepper and Pinenut Soup

I love soup, so I decided to have a soup week.  Since there are only two of us it didn’t make sense to make a new soup every day, but I did eat soup every day.

I’ve really been enjoying a cookbook I recently picked up called The 150 Best American Recipes by Fran McCollough and Molly Stevens and all of the week’s soup recipes have come from this book.  The authors exhaustively go through recipes published in cookbooks, magazines, and the internet in the United States each year and pull out the winners.  This cookbook is a compilation of the best of those winners.  Amazon is selling it for $9.99 and BYU’s bookstore has a big stack of them in their bargain bin for the same price if you are local.  Get it–you’ll like it.

On with the soup!  This soup is amazingly simple and at the same time brings a taste that is elegantly sophisticated.  I halved the recipe since my wife is not a big fan of bell peppers.  The original recipe comes from cook Han Feng and was published in Marie Claire magazine.

  • 3 pounds yellow bell peppers (about 8-10 peppers)
  • 6 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • Small thyme sprigs to garnish

Halve the peppers and remove the stem, seeds, and ribs.  Simmer the peppers in the chicken stock for about 20 minutes until they are soft.  Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts to a light gold in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning.  When the peppers are soft, puree them in a food processor or blender with the pine nuts until very smooth.  Add a little of the chicken broth if needed to achieve smooth consistency.  Mix the puree back in to the chicken broth and season to taste.  Garnish each bowl with a small thyme sprig.

This soup is not hearty enough to be a meal in itself, but makes a marvelous soup course.  The taste is out of this world and I can’t find the right words to describe it.

Cream of Tomato Soup

If your notion of tomato soup is the gunk that Campbell’s makes then this recipe is going to blow you away.  As far as the work to payoff ratio goes, you really get a bang for your buck here.  Seriously, the first time I made this I was shocked at how amazing it tasted.  You’ve got to try this.  I’ve adapted the recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.  (I highly recommend this cookbook if you don’t already have it)

Cream of Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 3 (14.5 oz.) cans tomatoes diced or whole
  • 1 cup cream or half and half (I think you know the right choice here)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan or stockpot and add the diced onion and carrot.  Saute until soft and add thyme.  Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and simmer for ~15 minutes.  Add cream and puree using an immersion blender, standard blender, food processor, or food mill.  Serve hot.

We like this with a good ole’ grilled cheese sandwich.