Guilty as charged. I made this soup months ago – when I was living the glory days of having completed my Master’s Thesis and having nothing to do but prep for my one Turkish Final. Those were the days of apartment shenanigans and cooking/baking adventures. Where 80 degree days are still soup appropriate and if you are gonna have the stove on you might as well turn on the oven too. Soup and bread – that’s what we do.
It’s the type of recipe that is inspired by seeing big, red, and fresh looking peppers in the produce section when what you really came to the store for was bananas. Always going to the store for bananas and leaving with a whole basket worth of goodies. Where little baby bell cheeses totally play their role and give this soup that extra dimension of flavor. Not to mention they are super cute.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 red bell peppers, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium onion or half a large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 russet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2cup half and half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup shredded gouda cheese
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, and thyme and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, bell peppers, potato, wine, and sugar. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Partially cover and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Cool the soup slightly.
Using an immersion hand blender, puree the soup in the pot until it is smooth. Alternately, working in batches, puree the soup in a regular blender, taking care while blending warm liquids. Season the soup, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and saute until they are crisp and golden, about 8 minutes.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Dollop a tablespoon of mascarpone in the center of each bowl and top with croutons. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.
Enjoy your soup and bread on a cold, warm or hot day.