Being a New Mexico native, I kind of have a
thing obsession for peppers. Green chiles, red chiles, jalapenos, chipotle, cayenne… there are very few peppers that I discriminate against.
I even love bell peppers, although I don’t really view them as a “pepper” because their heat index is pretty much zero. Nevertheless, I still don’t hold that against the bell pepper. I even have some growing out in my garden (although Elle keeps picking them when they’re wee babies, which really aggravates my husband).
I have traditionally used bells for two reasons: to dice and add to fresh salads, and to slice for my homemade fajitas. That all changed a couple months ago, when I went to visit my mom, and she roasted some red bells in the oven. I was struck with the incredible aroma that ensued. It had a familiarity to it, because we roast Anaheims every year, but the bells had a slightly different scent. They still had the iconic roasting pepper richness, but with sweet undertones, and it just filled my soul with happiness (much like some people encounter when baking cookies, I suspect). If there was a “roasted peppers” scented candle, I would buy it in a heartbeat.
Now, I am pretty much obsessed with roasting bells for various reasons, so I decided to make a roasted red pepper dipping sauce.
Start with some beautiful red peppers. You want them to be firm, unwilted, and a nice, vibrant color:
Roast them in the oven, on broil (or 450 degrees, if you want to do it slower) for about 5-10 minutes, until they get a nice char on the outside. This will impart some great flavor, and make them easy to peel.
You could also roast these on the grill, if you don’t want to warm up your kitchen in the middle of the summer.
Once roasted, place into a bowl and cover with a towel to allow them to steam for about 20 minutes. This will make the peeling process easier. From there, remove stems, seed, inside membranes and peels.
Dice them up finely:
Add butter to a pan over medium heat. Once melted, add in your onion and sautee for about 5 minutes until soft. Next in goes the peppers and garlic, and those are going to soften for about 1-2 minutes. Add your thyme and chicken broth, and simmer for 10 minutes.
You could also use 1/2 tsp of ground thyme, if you like. I have fresh thyme growing in my garden, so I like to use it whenever possible.
Pour your pepper mix into a blender, add your milk, and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you want to serve it warm, pour it back into the pan and warm up over medium for a couple minutes.
We served this red pepper sauce with zucchini cheddar hush puppies, and it was a huge hit in my house! It would also be great with grilled chicken, fresh veggies, or french fries. It would probably be good with rocks, too, to be completely honest… it’s that good.
(*Disclaimer: please don’t eat rocks*)
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ onion, diced
- Leaves from 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ cup milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Turn oven onto broil.
- Wash bell peppers and place directly on rack in oven. Roast in oven, turning every couple of minutes, until there is a nice char on the outside. This should take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
- Using a glove or tongs, remove peppers from oven, and place in bowl, cover with a towel, and allow to steam 20 minutes.
- Remove red bells from bowl, cut off the stem, remove the membranes and seeds, and peel. Dice the bell peppers into small pieces.
- Over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add diced onion and sautee in butter until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and peppers, and warm through, about 1-2 minutes. Add thyme and chicken broth, and allow to simmer over medium for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add red pepper mixture to a blender, along with milk, and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- You can serve it as is, or return to pan to warm up if desired.
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