Sunday, August 28, 2011

Roasted Sweet Pepper Soup

Roasted Sweet Pepper Soup, originally uploaded by riptideredsf.
My current obsession is soup. I was inspired by the cold damp beach weather out here in the Outer Richmond and a simple stock recipe I found on, my other current obession.
Michael Ruhlman is a food writer, journalist and author who has written numerous food-centric books, one of which I'm currently reading, "The Making of a Chef". It chronicles his time as a student at the Culinary Institute of America, research...taken on solely for the purpose of writing about it. I think I first became aware of him  when he appeared on "No Reservations" as Anthony Bourdains nemesis and partner in crime in the Vegas episode and later the Cleveland episode. He's funny... and he's easy on the eyes to boot. The man knows a thing or two about food. His recent post about his approach to chicken stock seems to have stirred up a shit load of contraversy in his blogs comment section about food safety.
He leaves his chicken stock in a pot on the stove top and just reheats it to 180F when he needs to use it or within 24 hours.  One chicken will render about 2 quarts of stock. He doesn't refrigerate it, and apparently manages to use it all within a couple of days. So far no one has gotten sick.
It was enough to inspire me to do something with the freezer full of chicken scraps I've been saving up. This was my first attempt at Chicken Stock.
I dumped a bag full of parts into the dutch oven, covered it with water and proceeded to cook it over a low flame for several hours, maintaining a 180F temperature for 4-6 hours. Add a large carrot (peeled and cut into large chunks) a large onion (cut into eighths), black peppercorns and a bay leaf to continue cooking for the last hour. There's much straining  of chunky parts through a clean kitchen towel and then skimming off fat as the stock cools down. Just leave it on the stove top and use as needed. Seems to be fine.
The next evening (I'd started my stock the previous evening and cooked it for about 4 hours. Shut it down leaving it on the stove over night and then adding the vegetables the next morning to contintue to slow cook for another hour. I shut it all down again prior to leaving for work and did all the skimming that evening. I made a roasted cauliflower soup that night and the day after that I made this roasted sweet pepper soup. By the third day the stock just looked too nasty and I dumped it. Both soups were delish and I didn't get sick.
I found this Roasted Sweet Pepper Soup recipe in a recent post at Sass and Veracity, a new food blog I discovered. I've made this twice now and it's incredibly good and even better the next day. The first time I used red, yellow and orange bell peppers, not realizing that the sweet peppers she was using were actually mini sweet peppers. I always thought those little clamshells of mixed peppers were hot. Turns out they're not. I bought some today at Smart and Final and tried it again. I'm not a fan only because it takes for freakin' ever to peel and de-seed the two pounds the recipe calls for. Between the finishing up of my new batch of chicken stock, the tedious pepper thing and my overly ambitious and misguided decision to make Gwyneth Paltrows Vegetarian Chili at the same time, I just spent four hours cooking.
GP's vegetarian chili is awesome. No regrets.

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