I call Wintersköl Aspen’s homecoming. Just like the big football game at your alma mater, it’s the first opportunity we have to all celebrate together, as locals, while we are all in town and the holiday panic has subsided. Plus there’s a king and queen and stuff. Like any multi-day party, it’s got a series of events, some better experienced with family, some better experienced with booze. It touches on arts, sport, and community. The one thing it hasn’t been touching on as much these last few years, though, is food.
Locals – I mean real locals with their brass badge that they keep hidden in their breast pocket and whip out whenever they want to tell you how this town has gone to the dogs – will tell you that one of the highlights of this homecoming was Soupsköl, which had its last slurps in 2016.
The free event featured soup tastings from area restaurants and crowned a winner based on public votes. The restaurant then got the title of Best Soup in Town, some cash and a copper kettle trophy. As reported in this rag, restaurants said they were no longer able to balance the street fair with busy dinner service, and so it is no longer part of the homecoming festivities. To be fair, neither are many of the past winners, including Ute City, Square Grouper and Garnish Café, to name a few.
So, in lieu of free soup, shared with strangers in subzero temperatures, this year you might have to whip up your own to tide you through the festivities. Inspired by a past red pepper bisque entry, here’s something to tide you over while you watch the canine fashion show instead.
3 cups of Red Peppers
1 medium onion
1 Tbsp. butter
3 cups of your favorite soup stock
1 Tbsp. corn starch
¾ cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded asiago or parmesan cheese
Chili powder or chili oil to taste
Cut peppers in half and remove seeds. Place on baking sheet and broil until skin blackens. While peppers are roasting, sauté onions and butter on stovetop in a large pot. Add stock and corn starch. Stir to thicken.
Melt in half of the shredded cheese and set aside the remainder for garnish. Place roasted peppers into a blender along with stovetop ingredients (turn off burner) and blend until smooth throughout. Return mixture to large pan and slowly stir in the heavy cream. Add chili to taste.
Separate into bowls and garnish with remaining shredded cheese. You may also top with sour cream, croutons and cilantro to taste.