Roasted Red Pepper and Fennel Soup

Happy Monday! I have a special treat for you guys today. I teamed up with Willow from Will Cook for Friends to do a recipe swap from The Casual Veggie Cookbook

If you're not sure what I'm referring to, let me catch you up. I teamed up with 47 other bloggers to create a cookbook that centers are one of my favorite things...veggies! This e-cookbook is such a unique project and I'm so happy to share it with you. It contains 166 recipes from 29 veggies along with growing, buying, storage, and preparation tips. You know when you are unloading groceries and can never remember if tomatoes go in the fridge or should be left out? This cookbook will guide you through what to do. 

The Casual Veggie e-cookbook would make a great gift for family or friends. If you think a cookbook centered around veggies is boring, you're wrong. That's why I'm giving you a sneak peak of what's in the book with this Roasted Red Pepper and Fennel Soup created by Willow. When deciding which one of Willow's recipes to make, I had the hardest time. All of her recipes sounded delicious and the photos were amazing! You should definitely check out her blog for other amazing recipes like this one and some awesome photography! In the end, I went with the soup since we've had some cool fall weather rolling through. 

So, onto Willow's amazingly awesome recipe from the cookbook. This soup is jam-packed with flavor. As I was making my grocery list for the week and looking at the recipe, I kept thinking I was missing something. The photos of the soup look so creamy and perfect but there was nothing but veggies, herbs, a few flavor enhancers, and water in the soup. Lesson learned: don't second guess Willow's recipes, just make. This recipe totally blew me away with how much flavor is packed into it. If you're not a fennel fan, don't be scared off by this recipe. You won't notice that it's in there. It adds a unique flavor without being overpowering. 

It takes some time to peel the roasted red peppers but it is totally worth it. If you've never tasted a homemade roasted red pepper, get on that stat. After I roasted the peppers, I tented them with some foil as Willow suggested. I used a paring knife to gently tug back the skin. This seemed to help the skin peel off in one big piece. Once the peppers are peeled, this soup comes together quickly. It is the perfect way to warm up your house with a delicious aroma on a cool fall day. Pair with a big hunk of bread and some football, and you've got yourself a nice Saturday. 

Be sure to head over to Will Cook For Friends to see a recipe of mine from the book that she made ;)

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I'll receive a commission. This helps to put food on my table and on the blog!

Roasted Red Pepper and Fennel Soup

Makes about 6 cups

8 red bell peppers
2 bulbs fennel
10-12 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons fresh chopped fennel fronds
6 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley                                                                                                   1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary                                                                                                  1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3-4 cups water, as needed
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with foil or parchment.

2. Cut the bell peppers in half, remove the stems and seeds, and press each half flat onto the baking sheets, skin-side up. Cut the fennel bulbs into quarters (set the fronds aside for later), remove the core, and cut away any gnarly looking spots on the outer leaves. Place on the baking sheets along with the peppers.

3. Peel the garlic, and place in the center of a separate (smaller) sheet of aluminum foil. Pull the foil up around the garlic to create a bowl, and add 1 tablespoons olive oil. Scrunch the foil tightly shut around the garlic to create a sealed pouch, and place on one of the baking sheets along with the peppers and fennel.

4. Place both baking sheets into the oven on the middle and lower rack, and roast for 40-50 minutes, or until the fennel is tender and the skin of the bell peppers is wrinkled, rotating the trays once halfway through baking.

5. Remove the baking sheets from the oven, and let rest for a couple of minutes, until the peppers are just cool enough to handle. Using your fingers, remove the papery skin from the bell peppers (the skin should separate fairly easily while the peppers are still hot. To make them even easier to peel, tent the peppers with foil when they come out of the oven and the steam will help loosen the skins. This is the hardest part of making this soup, but I promise you it is worth it.) 

6. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion, and a big pinch of salt, and saute for 6-8 minutes, or until tender. Add the roasted fennel, bell peppers, garlic (and all of the oil from the foil pouch), and stir to combine. Then add the fresh herbs, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and 2-3 cups of water.

7. Transfer the mixture to a blender, or puree using an immersion blender, until completely smooth. Add more water as needed to reach desired consistency.
Season well with salt and fresh cracked black pepper, and add a dash of cayenne, to taste. Serve as is, or with grilled cheese sandwiches, or a hunk of crusty bread for dipping.

Soup keeps well in the fridge for up to a week, or can be frozen for up to a couple of months.