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Guajillo Spiced Roasted Red Pepper & Fennel Soup

red pepper soup
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This healthy, fragrant soup will round out your New Year’s Eve menu in just minutes.  Serve it up in soup bowls for a sit-down affair or in shot glasses for a cocktail event.  Either way, it will please your crowd.

Guajillo peppers, native to Northern Mexico, set off the natural sweetness of red peppers and fennel with their fruity undertones and mild heat.   And no cream necessary for this soup – once blended, fennel helps create a smooth, creamy texture.

Ingredients & Method (serves 5-10, depending on appetite)

  • 6 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 small bulbs of fennel, coarsely chopped
  • 1T thyme, chopped, plus 1t
  • 2t rosemary, chopped, plus 1t
  • 6 cloves of garlic, roasted
  • Sherry vinegar to taste
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1T Guajillo chile powder*
  • 4T extra virgin olive oil or blended oil
  • 4-5 Cups vegetable stock
  • 2T toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4C goat cheese
  • 2T milk
  • zest of 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  On two parchment lined sheet trays, toss peppers, fennel, 1T thyme, 2t rosemary, salt, black and Guajillo pepper and oil.  Wrap garlic cloves in their skins in a foil packet with a tablespoon of olive oil and place on tray.   Roast for about 25 minutes or until vegetable skins begin to blister and turn black.   Pop garlic cloves out of their skins.

Heat veg stock and keep warm.

In vitamix or blender, working in batches, puree vegetables and garlic well with some vegetable stock, seasoning each batch with salt and sherry vinegar to taste.  Transfer to a large pot.  Warm thoroughly on medium heat, adding veg stock to thin down to a thick, yet still soupy consistency.   Adjust seasoning with salt and sherry.

For garnish, lightly toast pine nuts and set aside.  Whip together goat cheese and milk with remaining rosemary, thyme, lemon zest, salt and black pepper.

To serve, place soup in bowls and garnish with a dollop of goat cheese whip and top with toasted pine nuts.  Drizzle with olive oil.

*If you cannot find Guajillo powder you can use the whole, dry form.  Rehydrate pepper in hot water for about 30 minutes.  Discard seeds and stems.  Chop coarsely and  incorporate into the blending process.

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