Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Why does my red pepper soup taste like tomato soup


JoP in Omaha
 Share

Recommended Posts

I made cream of red pepper soup. Briefly, I roasted 9 fresh red peppers, peeled them, removed seeds, and chopped them. I sauteed chopped onions, added some flour to make a roux, and added the peppers, 3 cups chicken stock, salt, pepper. I cooked this 15-20 minutes, then pureed it and finished with cream.

It tastes like tomato soup. I added some cayenne to add a little kick. That helped a little, but when I gave it to a friend to taste, he asked if it was tomato soup.

There are no tomatoes or tomato-based products in the soup. My questions are

-- why does it taste like tomato soup?

-- next time, what can I do to ensure it will taste like roasted red pepper soup?

Thanks, JoP in Omaha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How long did you roast the peppers for?  Did you do it in an oven or over flame?

I broiled them in the oven until the skin turned black. They were 6" or so below the heat source. I broiled them about 10 minutes on each of 4 sides. (longer for the first 2 sides, a little less for the last 2 sides.) Probably about 40-45 minutes total.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Red peppers and tomatoes share a basic flavor profile (a combination of sweetness and acidity), so it's not terribly surprising that they can be confused, especially when they're cooked, mixed with other ingredients, and pureed, as in a soup.

It does sound as if you roasted them for a long time, which may have subdued the flavor. When I roast them under the broiler, I cut them in half first, remove the core and ribs, and lay on a sheet pan skin side up. That way, you can blacken the skin in a lot less time -- 15 minutes tops.

Finally, to make the soup taste more like peppers, I'd suggest leaving out the flour, and keeping the cream to a minimum. When I make roasted red pepper soup, I add 1/4 cup of cream (to 2 cups of chicken stock) -- just enough for texture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your advice, Jaz. Pondering this the past couple of days, it seems like the problem has to be in how I roasted the peppers. I'll try your suggestions, and I hope I get closer to the target I'm aiming for (duplication of the soup at a local grill). Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apart from confused taste buds and the cross-use of bell peppers and tomaters, where are you buying your bell peppers from? If you're getting them towards the end of the season or completely out of season, I'm sure you could eat the bell pepper by itself and it'll taste like cardboard.

If that's the case, no amount of roasting and blistering will return it to its God-intended state.

stay tasty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is this your first time tasting red pepper soup? I'm not trying to be funny, it just seems like a lot of people when tasting something new will (probably without even trying) associate it with something familiar. I made some passionfruit cheesecakes once and the people that tried them that had never had passionfruit before were sure that it was grapefruit. :blink:

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Over the summer I made several pasta dishes that combined red peppers & tomatoes, & it was amazing how similar they got to taste. These were fresh greenmarket items bursting with flavor so that wasn't the issue. I believe it's the length of cooking that mellows the flavor & emphasizes the sweetness, as JAZ mentioned above.

For the soup, I'd try holding a bit of that chopped roasted pepper aside & adding that just for the last few minutes of cooking.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is this your first time tasting red pepper soup? I'm not trying to be funny, it just seems like a lot of people when tasting something new will (probably without even trying) associate it with something familiar.

I understand where you're coming from with your question. No, it's not the first time I've tasted such soup. I'm trying to duplicate a roated red pepper soup that was served at a grill/bar here. It was made from scratch, that I know. That soup did not call forth essence of tomato, as my verison does even though no tomato products were added (no tomato, no tomato paste...)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Isn't the purpose of roasting to impart a roasted or grilled flavor into the BP rather than just to char the skin for removal? Then you take the skin off an you're left with, well, just a red bell pepper. I've seen people use a torch to char the skin so they can remove it. Did nothing to the flavor. Cut the pepper up in quarters and roast both sides (did someone say this already?).

Also, doesn't cream mellow out flavors? Did you use half/half or heavy cream? I know using coconut cream instead of coconut milk in Thai curries affects it's pungency. Maybe you didn't use enough red pepper? I would think less cream, less stock and more pure'ed BP will give you stronger flavors. Add salt and Cayenne as you did. You can also try different pepper types too other than cayenne. You'd be surprised how they differ in taste. Maybe try smoked paprika too? I'm just brainstorming here.

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks....I appreciate your ideas.

The amount of cream I used has come up a couple of times, so I want to explain. The initial amounts of main ingredients I used were 9 red bell peppers, 3 cups of chicken stock and one cup of cream. Then I tasted it....it was very tomato-y. That's when I started adding more cream to try to mellow the sharp tomato taste. More cream didn't help much.

I just checked out both McGee and Cookwise to see if they had a discussion of why peppers can end up tasting like tomato, but this wasn't addressed in either volume.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's been a while since I made this recipe, but Paul Bertolli has a red pepper soup in "Chez Panisse Cooking" that uses water instead of stock and uses cream as a garnish rather than mixing it into the soup. I found an online copy of the recipe here

I've heard people say that they think vegetable soups can have a "clearer" vegetable taste when using water instead of stock (and no roux). This may be a different approach to try as well with the red peppers.

(I've made a simple spinach soup from the same book when I was making a vegetarian dinner and I didn't have time to make vegetable stock and I remember it came out quite well!)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, 1 cup of cream seems a lot to me. Adding even more just diluted the flavor or made it taste tomato'y. Red bell pepper is not a strong enough flavor to withstand the other ingredients you listed IMHO...specially the cream. Try concentrating on making a Red Bell Pepper Soup before trying to make a Cream of RBPS. Changing one's perspective could make all the difference. Then again, I didn't taste what you had in the restaurant so I have no clue how to recommend anything over another when it comes to duplicating it so keep that in mind.

BTW, where did you get your recipe? I'd suggest looking around for one that has ingredients in it that would appear to be what you're looking for. Variations abound on the internet.

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Adding even more just diluted the flavor or made it taste tomato'y.  Red bell pepper is not a strong enough flavor to withstand the other ingredients you listed

No, that's not how it went. The tomato flavor came first, not after I added other ingredients. Because of the strong tomato flavor at the end, I added more ingredients. The initial ingredients were roasted red bell peppers, one half onion, stock, salt. pepper. It was at this point I tasted it, and it was a very strong tomato flavor, not red pepper flavor. So I added cayenne....then cream.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, when in doubt do as Harold McGee, Herve This, and Shirley Corriher would do: experiment. That said, did others think your roasted red pepper soup tasted like tomato soup or was it just you? Also, I like one of the previous posted suspect the cream.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hm. This is really interesting!

I would consider adding some more intensely-flavored pepper ingredients—rehydrated anchos pureed, or sweet paprika, or some small, fleshy, mild-to-medium heat chiles roasted with the bell peppers. I don't usually use cayenne, as it seems to tend to add heat without adding pepperiness.

I suspect the onion was involved here too; I might use roasted garlic rather than onion.

Finally, maybe some raw bell pepper added near the end of cooking will help; I find that moist cooking processes will anonymise any vegetable, so if some of the pepper is just barely warm when you puree it and do whatever finishing you want with it, you might end up with a clearer flavor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...