Chilled Roasted Pepper Soup RecipeJuly 20, 2010 Written by JP [Font too small?]
When I was a little boy there was one particular food that I simply couldn’t stand. I think most kids have at least one gastronomical nemesis. The odd thing about mine was that it was made up of ingredients that I actually enjoyed in other dishes. For instance, I loved lasagna, pasta marinara and pizza. And ketchup? Fuggedaboutit. I put it on just about everything. But tomato soup was an entirely different story. I could sit at the dinner table for hours upon hours with tears in my eyes and still never finish a bowl.
In my adult life, bell peppers play a role that is similar to that of tomatoes in my childhood. I really don’t care for the taste of raw bell peppers be they green, orange, red or yellow. However, when they’re smoky and fire-roasted I enjoy them immensely. Put some roasted pepper dip or spread on anything and I’ll eat it. Over fresh or steamed vegetables? You bet! Mixed in with scrambled eggs or on a perfectly cooked burger? Absolutely!
Apart from taste considerations, bell peppers are nutritional superstars. A medium-sized, red bell pepper yields over 250% of the RDA of Vitamin C and 75% of the daily requirement of Vitamin A via the pro-vitamin, beta carotene. In addition, bell peppers contain a significant amount of folic acid, potassium and Vitamin B6. What’s even more impressive is that you get all of this nutrient density for the price of only 37 calories. (1)
Chilled Roasted Pepper Soup
6 organic, red bell peppers
32 oz organic vegetable broth (reduced sodium)
8 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
8 oz crab meat
2 Tbs organic tomato paste
2 Tbs organic, unsalted butter
1 organic shallot
several sprigs of organic rosemary and thyme
organic black pepper and paprika
NutraSalt or salt
Nutritional Content: Calories: 275. Protein: 17 grams. Fat: 13 grams. “Net” Carbs: 9 grams. Fiber: 4 grams. Per bowl. 4 large servings per batch.
Right off the bat I want you to know that you can make this recipe in one of two ways. You can either: 1) roast the peppers yourself using a barbecue or the broiler setting in the oven; or 2) buy pre-roasted peppers in a jar. The first option involves charring the peppers on all sides. Once they’re well done, put them in a large bowl with a snug fitting top. This will allow the roasted peppers to steam and facilitate the next step in the process. After the peppers are cool enough to handle, it should be quite easy to remove the burnt skin. Finally, you’ll want to slice them down the center and remove the pith, seeds and stalks.
As for the other ingredients, dice the shallot and add it to a pot with butter, fresh rosemary and thyme. Use low heat to gently caramelize the ingredients for about 5 minutes. While waiting, quarter the roasted peppers. Remove the herb sprigs from the pot and add the chopped peppers, tomato paste and vegetable broth. Stir well. Bring the liquid up to a slow simmer and cook with the pot top on for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon in the ricotta cheese and sprinkle black pepper and paprika to taste. Use an immersion blender to puree the contents to a smooth consistency. Taste again and adjust for salt. Serve chilled or hot. Top with 2 oz of crab meat in the center of the bowl.
Earlier I mentioned that bell peppers are an abundant source of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). While it’s true that Vitamin C is a universally known nutrient, I have the sense that it’s often taken for granted. That’s why I want to take this opportunity to briefly mention some of the latest findings about the benefits of dietary and supplemental ascorbic acid. Studies published over the past several months suggest that a lack of this essential vitamin: a) is associated with poor fertility in men; b) increases the likelihood of tooth loss; c) may contribute to age-related hearing loss. (1,2,3)
The distinctive skin colors of bell peppers also contribute to their health promoting properties. The pigments responsible are largely comprised of beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and lycopene. When consumed in the context of a balanced diet, these vibrant antioxidants have recently been shown to: a) decrease the risk of acute myocardial infarctions or heart attacks; b) prevent the development of food allergies in an animal model; c) reduce the incidence of Parkinson’s disease. (4,5,6)
Bell peppers have many appealing attributes. I mentioned some of the finer points above, but could have also highlighted the fact that they’re a good source of fiber and are friendly for dieters who are watching carbohydrate intake. But there is a dark side to bell peppers as well. Testing by the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture indicate that bell peppers are one of the worst vegetables in terms of pesticide residue content. However, this is only an issue with regard to conventionally grown peppers. By buying organic, you can ensure all of the health benefits of peppers while avoiding some of the potentially toxic hitchhikers. (7)
Tags: Antioxidants, Fertility, Hearing Loss, Heart Health
Posted in Nutrition, Recipes