Cool Red Pepper Soup with homemade Garlicy Croutons

Red Pepper Soup

Tis the season for fantastic Red Peppers!  I know it is summer and technically speaking ‘soup’ is not preferred to keep you cool… but this soup tastes fantastic served COLD.  The simple flavor of red pepper- fresh and in season- is highlighted completely in this very simple fresh recipe.  Crushed red pepper flakes give it a subtle kick, the cool marscopone cheese add a creamy buttery layer and crunchy homemade garlicy croutons give this soup a crunch as well as fill you up.  We used our homemade chicken stock that we keep in the freezer, after making a whole roasted chicken, you can find the recipe here

Red Pepper Soup
Adapted from the New York Times 9/21/05
found here 

Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup dry white wine
6 large red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
Salt and white or black pepper
Marscapone for garnish
Thyme sprigs for garnish.

Put oil in large pot. Add onion when oil is hot. Cook onions until they begin to soften and take on color. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add wine and cook down quickly and on high heat, until only one tablespoon is left. Add peppers, stock, thyme and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until peppers are tender, about 30 minutes. In food processor or with an immersion blender, puree mixture in until smooth (if a food processor, in batches). Adjust seasonings to taste.
Soup can be served warm or chilled. Serve in demitasse cups or soup bowls, topped with a dab of marscapone and a tiny sprig of thyme and your homemade croutons.

Do ahead:  cover and chill overnight or for as long as 2 days or freeze (whisk well before serving if thawed).

Homemade Garlic Croutons

8 ounces day old french baguette, cute in to 1 inch cubes
1 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

In a pan over medium heat, add about 2T of the oil.  When hot add in the bread cubse and toss well to coat with oil, add more if necessary- you want eat to have a bit of oil on them without being completely saturated.  Toss in pan for a few minutes then add the garlic, salt and pepper to your liking- toss some more. The bread will start to dry out and get crispy, continue tossing them till they reach your desired toastiness- about 5-8 minutes total.  Serve with the soup