Saturday, September 28, 2013

Red Pepper Soup with Ginger and Fennel

My eyes have always been bigger than my stomach. As a child I'd serve myself more food that could possibly be eaten and when visiting the library withdrew more books than could reasonably be read. Moderation was not a trait I treasured or even tried to emulate. I thought it came with naturally with age, much like wrinkles or wisdom. Obviously, it doesn't and while I've earned wrinkles aplenty and gained a bit of wisdom in the process, I still go off on tangents. I've been able to channel food from the plate to my blog and devoted a rather large portion of what I read to assuring that plate is never empty or my blog bereft of words, but every so often something triggers a tangent that simply must run its course. I hold Marcella Hazan and Madhur Jaffrey completely responsible for my latest derailment. I needed just one recipe from each of them to reach a goal I'd set for myself, but research into their lives loosed the hounds of hell and I found myself testing far more recipes than I needed. I have a couple that I'd like to share with you this week. The first is a recipe for a soup from Madhur Jaffrey. I made it again tonight and my socks are still going up and down. I think you know me to be a truth teller, so, please believe me when I tell you this is ambrosia, pure and simple. The soup is really easy to make and if you like strongly flavored food I think you'll love it. You really must try this. The predominant flavor is that of red bell pepper, but a hint of ginger and cayenne warm it slightly and make it a perfect light summer soup. You can have this molten treasure on the table in less than an hour, and it can be made ahead of time. It would be a perfect first course for a more formal meal. Please, please, please give this one a try. You won't regret it. Here's the recipe.

Red Pepper Soup with Ginger and Fennel...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Madhur Jaffrey


2 pounds sweet red bell peppers

4 tablespoons olive or canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium potato (about 4 ounces), peeled and chopped

One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

5-5 1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 teaspoon salt

5-6 tablespoons heavy cream


Chop the peppers coarsely after discarding all the seeds. Pour the oil into a large, wide pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the peppers, onions, potatoes, ginger, fennel seeds, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne. Stir and fry until all the vegetables just start to brown. Add 2 cups of the stock and the salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Ladle the soup in batches into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the blended soup into a clean pot. Add the remaining stock, thinning the soup out as much as you like. Add the cream and mix it in. Adjust salt, as needed. Heat through before serving. Yield: 4 to 5 servings.

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