I grew up near San Francisco Bay, where sailing is usually a chilly affair. My parents and my two brothers and I usually returned to our slip aboard Tango, our Catalina 30, with numb hands after especially blustery sails. We quickly discovered that a bowl of hot soup is a cold-water sailor’s best friend. This particular recipe is a family favorite. It’s packed with vibrant flavors, and the aroma of peppers roasting in the oven is a treat in itself. My crew and I have since moved on to the warmer waters of Mexico’s Sea of Cortez aboard our new boat, Circe, a Catalina 40. Although none of us miss the numb hands, we certainly miss those cozy evenings. Now, no matter where in the world we find ourselves, the taste of this soup brings us back to the days we spent joyfully shivering together on San Francisco Bay.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup
- 4 red bell peppers
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 tomato
- 4 cloves garlic, skins on
- Olive oil, as needed
- 2 medium onions
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1⁄4 tsp. smoked paprika
- Sprinkle of chili flakes (optional)
- 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup water or chicken broth
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Splash balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Basil, fresh or dried (for garnish)
- Sour or heavy cream (for garnish)
Note: Requires a blender or immersion blender.
Serves 2 as a big meal, 4 as a starter.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coarsely chop bell peppers and carrots. (If using an immersion blender later, size pieces accordingly.) Halve and seed the tomato. Coat the bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes and whole, unpeeled garlic cloves with olive oil, and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast. After 15 minutes, remove garlic, and cool. Continue roasting veggies for 15 more minutes, or until pepper and tomato skins begin to char and the carrots are soft enough to be pierced easily with a fork.
While the vegetables roast, chop the onions and saute in olive oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sugar, smoked paprika, chili flakes (if using), and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir for 1 minute. Add can of tomatoes. Slip skins off garlic cloves, chop, and add to the pot. Remove veggies from the oven and add straight to the pot, including roasting juices. Add 1 cup of water or stock, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Blend with a conventional or immersion blender until smooth. Soup will be thick; add more water or stock if needed to adjust consistency to your liking. Check seasonings, and add a splash of balsamic vinegar to taste (optional). Garnish soup bowls with a dollop or swirl of sour or heavy cream and basil.
Preparation: At anchor
Time: 1 hour, including preparation and cooking