I’ve never liked sweet peppers. Hot peppers, I love. Green bell peppers? They’ve often played a supporting role in many of my favorite dishes (like this one) but they’ve never really been cause for much excitement. But honestly, I’ve never been a fan of the red, orange and yellow varieties.
But this soup is fantastic; the preparation is simple, the flavor complex.
I’m not sure what inspired a sweet-pepper hater like myself to make this soup but I sure hope the rest of Irish cuisine has this same sort of fresh, simple approach with comparable results. I’ll consider this soup one more piece of evidence that Ireland’s reputation for bad food is a total sham…
Irish Pub Pepper Soup
Yield: 4-6 servings
* 6 Tablespoons butter
* 4 cups chopped red, orange and yellow sweet bell peppers (ended up being about 1 1/4 pounds)
* 1 red onion, chopped
* 1 stalk celery including leaves, chopped (note: steal some leaves from the other stalks if you’re a celery fan like myself)
* 4 cups vegetable broth
* 1/2 cup half-and-half
* 1 Tablespoon corn starch
* 1 Tablespoon water
* salt and pepper to taste
* crème fraiche for garnish (optional)
* chopped celery leaves, for garnish (optional)
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft. Add the peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers have softened.
Add the broth, stir, and simmer for 45-50 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. Whisk in the half-and-half.
Combine the cornstarch with the water to make a slurry, making sure there are no lumps. Add the cornstarch slurry to the soup, stirring constantly. Simmer a couple more minutes to thicken.
Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into individual serving bowls and garnish with crème fraiche and celery leaves, if desired.
Adapted from The Irish Pub Cookbook by Margaret M. Johnson