What’s Fresh: Peppers

By: Kelsey Johnson


With temperatures consistently breaking into the hundreds in Iowa recently, it’s no secret that people are searching for ways to keep cool. Which is why we are featuring peppers in this months “What’s Fresh,” because eating spicy foods actually helps cool your body down. (No really: proof.) PLUS they are in peak season in Iowa.

This week’s recipe is thanks to the allspice recipe archive and is packed with farm favorites, all of which are in season! Yay! You can grab some absolutely beautiful heirlooms from Butcher Crick Farms or Grinnell Heritage Farm, peppers from Overhome Farm, garlic from Grade A Gardens, and Habanero Chile Powder from allspice. We can’t get enough of all the fresh, delicious produce available in Iowa, and we want to help you make the best of it while you can!


Chilled Red Bell Pepper and Habanero Soup


Photo by Overhome Farm


  • 4 medium red bell peppers
  • 2 lb tomatoes
  • 1 sweet onion (1/2 lb)
  • chopped 2 garlic cloves
  • chopped 1 tsp Habanero Chile Powder
  • 1/4 Cup plus 2 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 and 3/4 Cups reduced-sodium chicken broth


Roast bell peppers on gas burners over high heat (or on a broiler pan about 2 inches from broiler element), turning with tongs, until skins are blackened, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 20 min. Peel peppers, then halve lengthwise, discarding stems and seeds.

Cut a shallow X in bottom of each tomato, then blanch them: dip each tomato in simmering water 20 seconds and transfer to an ice bath. Peel and coarsely chop, reserving tomatoes’ juices.

Cook onion, garlic, chiles, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in 2 Tbsp oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and pale golden, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices, bell peppers, broth, and 1/4 tsp salt and simmer, covered, until peppers are tender, about 5 minutes.

Purée soup in 2 or 3 batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids – it can blow the lid off the blender and scald you), drizzling remaining 1/4 cup oil into first batch with motor run.

Allow soup to cool before serving. Can be made several hours ahead of time and chilled in the refrigerator.