Semolina soup can be made as thick or thin as you like. Integrating red peppers into every phase of making this soup showcases all the rich flavors and textures of the red pepper to create a comfort dish with surprising depth. This is an old world recipe that can be made from scratch, but you can also find shortcuts along the way, if time is pressing. I will suggest both directions. This soup works well with sweet or smoked paprika. Just be sure you have the real thing. I highly recommend Hungarian imports! Spanish paprika is also good. The quality of paprika makes a big difference! Using home roasted peppers beats even the best commercially available ones, but in a pinch they can be used. Roasting peppers outdoors on the grill is the best, but they can also be done under the broiler. For the presentation of this soup, cut your fire roasted peppers into slivers. See the photos for the process. Arrange these with the delicate Korean bell pepper threads, shilgochu, which are sweet. You can find these at Savory Spice online. Then swirl EVOO into the soup and serve with a crusty artisan bread. I love eating this soup. There is something especially comforting and soothing about its distinctive taste and texture. This is a soup well worth making from scratch. If you have never had this, I hope you will crave it again and again after you have sampled it. —Sagegreen
broth made from red peppers, herbs, tomatoes, carrot, and onion
bouquet garni of thyme, parsley, basil, sage or similar herbs
pink or kosher salt, to taste
pureed red peppers (and you could include some tomato carrot and onion, too, in this mix, if desired)
sweet or smoked paprika (Hungarian preferred)
clarified butter/ghee, or high grade unsalted regular butter
splash of white wine, optional
splash of vodka, optional
fire roasted peppers, cut into slivers
Korean bell pepper threads, shilgochu, optional
fresh herbs or capers for garnish, optional
sprinkle of paprika for garnish
additional EVOO for drizzle
In This Recipe
Start by making a 4 pints of great vegetable broth which includes filtered water, at least 2 sweet de-seeded red peppers, at least 1 tomato, 1 carrot, 1 onion, and the salt. Add a bouquet garni of thyme, sage, basil, and parsley to the broth. I use plain dental floss to tie the herbs together, but string works well. Add a cardamom pod, too. You can use all your saved vegetable ends to make this broth. Do include one fire roasted pepper into this broth as well as one uncooked sweet red pepper for depth of flavor. Give the broth at least an hour to simmer. Strain the broth and save any good pepper bits from which you can make your puree. Have about 4 cups of strained great broth in the end. From this, salvage about 1/2-3/4 cup of cooked red pepper (and a few other choice vegetables with a bit of tomato, carrot and onion)and puree. You can add a few tablespoons of broth into the mix to facilitate the puree if helpful. I used a blender.
Heat ghee (if you have it) or unsalted high grade butter in a large sauté pan; add the paprika and cumin stirring constantly. Next add 3 tbl. of oil and heat for one minute. Add the semolina, stirring constantly for a few minutes. Add the pepper puree mixture into the semolina and continue stirring for a few minutes.
Next add 3-4 cups of strained broth and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. If you are really pressed for time, you can select the best quality vegetable (or even chicken) broth you can find.
Beat the egg with the milk. Take 1 or 2 tbsp of the simmering soup from the pot and add it to this mixture to temper. Then add this tempered mix to the soup, whisk in, and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes or so. Add wine and or vodka at this point if desired in the final cooking minutes. If you have stirred continuously this soup should be very smooth. However, if you find a few clumps of the semolina along the way, they just add a bit more texture, not to worry.
To serve this soup, ladle into the dishes. Arrange a cut fire roasted pepper on top with bell pepper threads, if you like. Drizzle EVOO on top. Garnish with fresh herb or capers and paprika. You can enjoy this soup warm or even cool. Serve with artisan bread! I really hope you make this and enjoy it.