Finding the right opportunity to make roasted red pepper soup means that
one must make the opportunity, not wait for it to occur.
We should take the time to enjoy courses at dinner time, rather than rushing through a meal,
trying to get back at whatever we have on the go.
I speak in terms of what should be, of course.
Our family feels blessed to be able to still enjoy sit-down meals with the whole family most evenings a week.
Coordinating schedules is hard enough,
dragging out the meal takes a certain level of commitment, or just the right occasion.
Years ago, my good friend Sarah Kuipers invited some of us girl friends over for a lunch.
She had prepared multiple courses and we had a wonderful time, one for which we should create the opportunity again.
She, among other things, had prepared a creamy broccoli soup. It was the first time I had had a homemade creamy soup.
My Dutch culture dictates generally broth soups – chicken or meatball are our favourites.
Delicious, but after generations (it seems) of Sunday lunches of soup and buns,
not quite my go-to soup for company or an introductory course.
Sarah’s soup opened my eyes to the possibilities.
Not long after that fateful lunch, Ella Heslinga served me up some homemade cream of mushroom soup.
Certainly not Campbell’s, that’s for sure!
She had used sautéd onions and mushrooms, and simmered them in wine before adding cream
and other seasonings to make it a masterpiece. I was blessed to snag that recipe from her and have served that
one up to a friend or two over the years. If you haven’t had me do that for you, give me a call and invite
yourself over. I would love the opportunity to make it again.
Use the code word “Mushroom Soup” in a conversation with me
and you might get a spontaneous invitation. Sometimes my mind works like that.
Then, when I still worked for Ninabrook with Heather Brooks and Sharon Ninaber,
they had me make some roasted red pepper soup for one of their scrapbook retreats.
Once again, I was blown away by the simple goodness of a good soup.
Last week, I was at No Frills (my second favourite store in all the world –
it really helps our slightly larger than average family’s budget without sacrificing quality produce and products),
and saw, to my delight, two bags of seconds red peppers.
Oh, joy! $2 was all the incentive I needed to get started on a culinary masterpiece.
Ok, so I exaggerate just a little, but I do that.
I started by roasting those red peppers. I halved them after washing, removed the seeds and placed them on a baking tray,
along with two cloves of garlic, off of which I had cut the tops. ( oohh – that was good grammar, wasn’t it, Veronica? )
40 minutes later, they looked like this.
They might have been good to leave in just a bit longer,
but I took them out and left the garlic to roast another 20 minutes until the garlic looked like this:
It’s good to put the roasted peppers in a sealed bag or container and let them “steam” a little –
makes the skin agree to peel off a bit easier. Which is what I did about 10 minutes later.
Peeled the peppers and placed them directly in a blender with about 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of sour cream.
I broke apart the garlic cloves and added the “meat”, as well.
Ok, so, about half way through this process, my family arrived home after school.
So, in true Mommy-fashion, I took all the mess, packaged it all up and put it in the fridge, blender and all.
No way I was going to try to finish this while supervising the “after-school snack brigade”.
Between peanut butter bananas and brown sugar sandwiches and chocolate apples,
who knows what would have ended up in my soup.
The next day, peace reigned once again in the afternoon for about an hour, thanks to Paw Patrol,
so I pulled it all out again, finished peeling the peppers and continued on with my plan.
I seasoned it with just some salt and pepper, and blended it until smooth. The last time I made a red pepper soup,
I was instructed to press it through a sieve, and that makes a super smooth liquid soup.
I chose this time to not to, (flashback to Mater in Cars), mainly because I enjoy a bit of texture,
not chunky, mind you, but just a bit of pulp in my soup.
Next, I brought it to a boil on the stove in a heavy pan.
Since there is milk and cream in it, you want to do this slowly, and stir often as milk has a tendency to settle and scald,
even before you ever see a boiling bubble.
Voilà! Soup du la jour à La Maison des Schinkels was Creamy Roasted Red Pepper.
Turns out Greg and I were (again) the only ones to enjoy the soup, and I didn’t actually serve it up as it’s own course
(see aforementioned reasons), but it was a delicious side,
and I had some for my next two lunches, so sometimes I have to admit I like my picky children just fine.