Roasted Red Pepper and Kale Soup
Even though I love to cook, dream about it (…some great ideas have come to me in my sleep, although I have a recurring nightmare about chocolate seizing. I think its post-culinary-school-trauma related. Another story for another time.), and live for it…sometimes I just don’t want to.
Sometimes I’m tired, and grumpy, and just want something warm and tasty with minimal effort. I want to sit. And turn off my brain. And pour what some people would call a indecent amount of wine into a giant glass. Last night was just such a night. And on nights like those, soup is my savior.
My day started yesterday by waking up at 4 AM with M., who had to catch an early morning flight. I never quite made it back to sleep, and by the time I finally dragged my bones out of bed, I was already ready to crawl back in. I skipped the early morning workout that I’d planned and by the time I was done searching my wreck of an apartment for my keys, stepping in cat vomit (and then cleaning up said cat vomit), and getting myself out the door, I was officially late. After a full day of work, a tedious commute home that was abounding with horrid traffic and even more horrid Boston drivers (did you know that red lights and turn signals are optional here? yeah, me either.), I was ready to just be done.
Luckily, this weekend I’d made a huge batch of this soup, and it so hit the spot. I warmed some up, poured that glass of wine, and sunk onto the couch for a quiet night of blissful decompression.
I’m not always one for roasted red peppers – they’re a little too sweet and mild for my taste, and usually lose me with their limp, chewy texture (especially if they’ve been packed in a jar with oil and too many other spices). But hear me when I say that roasting your own is an entirely different story. Just like anything, when you do it yourself you have control – you can roast them however you like, with whatever ingredients you like, for however long you like. The taste is incredibly authentic, with just a touch of that delicious charred flavor.
And while the peppers are the star of this soup, adding just a hint of acidity with tomatoes and an earthy bite with the kale rounds out the flavor beautifully – not to mention the nutrition. Its sweet and spicy and creamy and wonderful. Perfect for dipping crusty bread and consoling bad days.
Roasted Red Pepper and Kale Soup
4 large red peppers
3-4 garlic gloves
1/2 onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
~1-2 cups of fresh kale, stems removed and chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes (or fresh, if you can find good ones this time of year)
2 cups of chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 tablespoon sriracha (or any hot sauce – feel free to add more if you like things extra spicy)
Salt and pepper
Wash, halve, and seed red peppers. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place peppers on sheet, cut side down. Gently press peppers to flatten. Scatter unpeeled garlic cloves among peppers.
Turn oven to broil and raise rack to highest position. Broil peppers and garlic directly under flame until blackened and charred, about 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to check and turn peppers continuously to be sure they’re broiling evenly. (forwarning: if you have a sensitive smoke detector, you may want to cover it if you can. Mine went off no less than 4 times during this process).
Remove peppers and immediately place them in a sealed plastic bag. Allow the peppers to steam in the bag for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven, over medium heat. Add onions, thyme, and bay leaves. Sauté 7-10 minutes until tender. Then add kale, tomatoes, broth, and hot sauce. Peel roasted garlic and add. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes or so, until kale is tender.
Remove peppers from bag and peel the blackened skin off each one. Then add the peppers to the pot and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and remove bay leaves. Place entire contents of pot in a blender. Purée until smooth.