Bell peppers are remarkably underrated. They come in most of the colors of the rainbow, and they house an incredible depth of flavor. Red bell peppers in particular are sweet and slightly sharp at the same time. There's a lot more to them than their beautiful color.
This soup really showcases the glory of the red bell pepper. Thanks to a little bit of rice, it has a nice creamy starchiness when it's pureed. It's incredibly comforting and somehow refreshing at the same time. It's exciting to find such a great red pepper soup that doesn't involve roasted red peppers, but the bell pepper in its unadulterated form.
Red Bell Pepper Soup
adapted from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple food
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
2 cups low sodium veggie or chicken broth
1 cup water
2 tablespoons short grain brown rice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
pinch red pepper flakes
1. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the veggies are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for an additional 4 minutes, stirring often.
3. Add the broth, water, rice, and vinegar. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and partially cover the pot. Let simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender.
4. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender or food processor, until completely smooth. Season to taste with salt and red pepper flakes. Serve hot.