This is my happy soup. The colours are vibrant and it makes me smile. It makes my diners smile. Everyone gets to play with their bowl of soup and swirl the colours anyway they like. A little fun before eating is always good.

This soup started out many years ago as either a yellow, orange or red bell pepper soup. It was a popular soup with my diners as the cayenne pepper and pear combination had spicy and sweet elements. After making the soup one too many times, I decided it needed a bit more excitement. So now I cook 2 pots of different coloured bell pepper soups, plate them and top with a white blob of cream. Visually pretty and the flavours are doubly good!

Sunny 3 Colours Bell Pepper Soup

Prep: ~20 minutes 
Cook: ~40 minutes 
Inactive: ~15 minutes
Level: Intermediate
Serves: ~4
Oven Temperature: 400F (200C)
Can recipe be doubled? Yes
Make ahead? Yes, up to 2 days ahead.

Ingredients

1 cup=250ml=8.45US fl oz

1.21 lbs(550g) red bell peppers/capsicums
1.21 lbs(550g) yellow bell peppers/capsicums
2 Tablespoons neutral tasting oil (eg. sunflower, rice bran, rapeseed, corn).
1 cup (~4.58oz)(~130g) diced onions
1 ripe pear, peeled, cored and cut into rough chunks OR 1/3 cup pear puree OR 1/4 – 1/3 cup applesauce*
2.5 cups water/any kind of stock
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 cup (125ml) heavy/heavy whipping/double cream** OR 1/2 cup (125ml) half &  half/light/single/whipping cream***
Optional: Mini sweet peppers to top your bowls of soup..

* If you cannot find ripe and fragrant pears, you are better off using pear puree or applesauce. Look for it along the baby food aisle of your supermarket. Those found there are bottled in smaller volumes. Larger bottles would likely be found along the canned/bottled vegetable/fruit aisle(s). I prefer using pear puree if ripe pears are unavailable.  Between using pears and apples, I would rather use pears. Pears when ripe, are predictably sweeter than apples without the fear of any sour tang. If you choose to use applesauce, you probably have to add some sugar to the soup to adjust for the acidity coming from the applesauce. Start with 1/4 cup and add more if required.
** Milk fat of usually 36% -38% upwards (percentages vary between countries). If food presentation matters to you, use a higher fat content cream so that you get a more distinct circle of white cream on your soup.
*** Milk fat of anywhere between 12% – 36% (percentages vary between countries).


Method

The capsicums/peppers
1. Grill the bell peppers until they look black and charred on the outside.
2. I use only the top heat of my oven. The distance between the top heating element of the oven and the tops of the bell peppers is 2″ (5cm). It takes ~20 minutes to grill the bell peppers completely. Turn the peppers every 5 – 8 minutes so that the whole surface area gets a chance to char. Make yourself a cup of tea and do not stay too far away from your oven.
3. When the peppers are blackened on all sides, place them in a bowl and seal it tight with aluminium foil. Leave it alone for ~15 minutes. This steaming will make it easier to peel off the charred skin.
4. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and remove all the seeds. Strain the liquid from the grilled peppers and set aside.
5. Cut the peppers into large chunks. Keep the diced red and yellow peppers in separate bowls.

The soup
1. Heat up the oil (medium-high heat) in a medium sized pot and fry the onions until soft. Transfer half of the softened onions into another medium size pot. Heat that pot up on medium-high heat too.
2. If you are using a fresh pear, divide the cut pears between the two pots. Add the red peppers in one pot and the yellow peppers in the other.
3. Stir them around for 5 minutes over medium-high heat or until they smell peppery and smoky.
4. Add 1.25 cups of water to each pot of bell peppers. Divide the strained liquid from the grilled bell peppers that was set aside earlier between the two pots.
5. If you are using pear puree/applesauce, split them now between the 2 pots.
6. Divide the salt, pepper and chilli powder between the 2 pots.
7. When the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until the pears and peppers are soften. Turn off the burners and remove pots.
8. When cool enough, puree the soup separately. I use my immersion blender, one of my most useful kitchen gadgets. It gets all my chunky soups to a silky consistency with minimal wash up required.

To serve
1. Ladle yellow bell pepper soup into soup bowl. Follow immediately by ladling the red bell pepper soup over the centre of the yellow bell pepper soup.
2. Use a tablespoon to spoon cold cream over the centre of the red bell pepper soup.
3. If you wish, top a mini bell pepper over the white circle of cream.
4. If you want to get 2 semi-circles of red and yellow, transfer red and yellow soups into separate jugs.
5. Pour red and yellow soup from jugs into bowl at the same time. Then, proceed with Steps 2 & 3.

Tip


Take this delicious soup to a potluck and your host/hostess will be very pleased with your effort. So much better than another cake or dessert. In fact, this soup is headed to a party!

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