Sure, there is candy. But Halloween is really an opportunity for spooky seasonal recipes. Below is Monica’s Hart’s inventive take on an Italian pepper soup straight from her childhood.
This earthy and easy fall soup selection is a page out of my childhood. Every year in early fall, my Italian-born grandmother, Nettie, would roast the bell peppers we picked at a Yakima farm. The peppers would be canned and frozen and used throughout winter. Roasting peppers brings out their sweet, rich flavor, and it’s so easy. Serve the soup in a fondue pot cauldron to give it Halloween appeal!
3 orange bell peppers
1 sliced Walla Walla onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
I teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon toasted cumin
A generous splash of Kirsch cherry brandy liqueur
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish options: dried pear and cherries, and fresh thyme
Roast the orange bell peppers and one peeled and sliced Walla Walla sweet onion tossed in olive oil in the oven at 400 degrees until the peppers are slightly charred and the onions caramelize.
Place the peppers in a paper bag, and roll down the top so that the peppers continue to steam while they cool, making it easier to remove the skins. Remove skins.
Slice the peppers, and add to a soup pot along with the onions, garlic, thyme, and oregano. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, and sauté on medium heat for a few minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add broth to the pot, toasted cumin, and a generous splash of Kirsch cherry brandy liqueur. Salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes until all of the flavors combine. Remove from heat, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup mixture in the pot. Return to the heat, and simmer for 15 more minutes. Serve garnished with sliced dried pears, dried cherries, and fresh thyme.
More spooky Halloween recipes, like the The Frankentini Martini, can be found at 425magazine.