Introduction: Red Pepper Soup With Goat Cheese & Harissa

About: Designer. Thinker. Doer. Hiker. Lover.

Having a backyard garden means finding recipes to make use of bumper crops and stretching the comfort zones of cooking. Once my red bell peppers moved from green to red, I started looking for more to do than slice up and eat them raw (which I did a lot of first!) and found a delicious soup recipe with roasted red pepper, goat cheese, and harissa. It was everything I dreamed it could be and more!

Roasting the peppers makes them sweet and mellow while the harissa has a nice kick and the goat cheese melts a bit making for a creamy, tangy taste. The recipe was described as North African soup and if you can't find harissa, follow this Instructable for how you can throw your own together!

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

Gather up all the ingredients before you get to cooking!

For the soup:

  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (32 fl oz) chickpeas, drained
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp harissa
  • 60 g fresh goat cheese, crumbled

For the harissa:

Note: You can buy prepared harissa paste or blend the spices yourself using a combination of what you have from the list below.

  • A blend of: chillies, smoked paprika, cumin, caraway seeds, fennel, garlic, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, mint, ginger, parsley
  • Olive oil

Pro tip: This recipe is based on the same recipe from this recipe book. Thanks for the inspiration!

Step 2: Roast the Peppers

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚ (190˚ C). Put the bell peppers on a baking sheet and lightly coat them with oil.
  2. Roast until the skins are blistered and the peppers are soft, 35-45 minutes.

Step 3: Make the Harissa

If you can't find the harissa paste (or even if you can and want to make your own!) you can blend spices to make your own. The flavor combos are really rich and varied!

Here's the blend I used:

  • Chillies (to make it more mild, I used crushed red pepper)
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cumin
  • Caraway seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Garlic
  • Coriander
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Parsley

Several of the herbs, spices, and seeds I used started whole, so I used a mortar and pestle to grind them up. This is a great way to extract all the best flavors from your ingredients! Pour some quality olive oil into the mix and give it a stir.

Step 4: Chop Your Veggies

Chop the raw onion and garlic to prep for the next step.

While you're at it, the peppers should now be cooled. Cut the peppers into 1 1/2" pieces.

Step 5: Cook the Soup

In a large, heavy pot, warm the pot first (empty) and then add the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft (4-5 minutes). Add the bell peppers, broth, chickpeas, spices, and salt.

Step 6: Let Everybody Get to Know Each Other!

Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Step 7: Crumble the Goat Cheese

With a fork, lightly crumble the goat cheese and set aside.

Step 8: Blend the Soup

An immersion blender will make quick work of the next step - puréeing the soup! If you don't have an immersion blender, work in batches in a blender or food processor to purée.

Step 9: Add Harissa

Pour the harissa into the pot and stir.

Step 10: Pair With Dinner and Serve!

Top with goat cheese and serve up this soup as a first course or side dish!

Serving tip: It was delicious with a nice kale salad and some crusty warm bread. With the oven hot from the peppers, I popped the bread in to make the crust crispy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! Any changes when you made it? Post photos below to share what you served it with!

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