Hungarian-Style Red Pepper Bisque

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I love soups that are made with roasted red or yellow peppers. They are a wonderful way to spruce up a sandwich lunch and they pack a flavor punch that is hard to beat. I don’t make them often because the soups require a lot of peppers and the red and yellow varieties are usually quite expensive. Usually! I made an early stop at the grocers on Easter Sunday to buy greens for our holiday salad. While I was in the produce aisle I literally tripped over a large box of red peppers that were being sold 4 for a dollar. I grabbed a large bag and picked the best peppers in the box and took them home with me. The following day I roasted them for use in soup and kept the rest to use as part of antipasto platter. This is the easiest of my pepper soups to make and it is one that I really enjoy. I usually double the recipe when I make it and freeze the extra batch to serve on one of our gray and rainy days. I chose this recipe because we were going to have Welsh rarebit and the version I make is spooned over a seeded rye bread. I thought the paprika and caraway seed used in this Hungarian-style recipe would be a better match for the rarebit than a Spanish variety might. If you are skilled with a knife or have a food processor, you can have this soup on the table in less than an hour. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days, and it can be frozen for up to three months. The soup contains no cream and potatoes, rather than flour, are used to thicken it. I do hope you’ll give the recipe a try. Here is how the soup is made.

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Hungarian-Style Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

2 tablespoons olive oil + olive oil for drizzling
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
1 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika
1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
2 pounds thick-skinned red peppers, roasted and sliced
Salt and pepper
2 medium-size baking potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 quart water
2 cups chicken broth

1) Combine olive oil, carrot, celery, onion, both sweet and hot paprika, and ground caraway seeds in a stockpot set over medium heat. Saute until vegetables are soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add roasted peppers and cook for 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste, potatoes, water and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
2) Use an immersion mixer or a blender to puree soup. If using a blender puree soup in batches to prevent burns. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in soup bowls, drizzling each portion with a generous amount of olive oil. Yield: 6 to 8 serving.

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