Roasted red pepper & tomato bisque

Posted by on Aug 28, 2013 in Recipes by Karen Gros | 0 comments

Roasted red pepper & tomato bisque

The perfect late-summer, early-fall soup, this “creamy” bisque is achieved by thoroughly blending the soup on high speed.  The method of rolling the roasted peppers in newspaper comes from my sister-in-law, Bernadette, in Nice who learned the technique from her mother-in-law years ago.  For extra smokiness, consider adding a teaspoon of smoked paprika.

redPepper_tomatoBisque_med

Serves 6

2 lbs. (8-10 large) red bell peppers (leave half of the peppers intact, cut remaining peppers in 1-inch chunks)
Newspaper, several sections

2 T.  unsalted butter
2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, sliced in half rounds
1 T. paprika
Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
2 ¾ lbs. fresh Heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into large chunks (or one 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes)
2 clove garlic, minced
1 Qt. chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 t. fresh thyme
Fresh basil, chiffonade, garnish
½ c. crème fraîche, garnish (1 c. heavy cream + 2 T. whole yogurt, let sit at room temp. 24 hours, stir, then refrigerate) 

  1. Roast half of the peppers:  Place one pound of the red peppers on broiler pan and broil on high for 4-5 minutes, until top side is completely charred.  Turn the peppers with tongs, broil about 2 minutes until charred; continue turning and broiling until all sides are blackened.  Place peppers in the newspaper and roll up; set aside for at least 30 minutes until cool enough to handle (may sit as is until the next day).  Slice the peppers in half, removing seeds and skins; place peppers in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil and onion; sprinkle with salt and sauté until translucent  about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining red peppers; sauté about 5 minutes until softened.  Add the paprika and cayenne, cook another minute or two; then add the garlic, cooking 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Pour in the chopped tomatoes (if using canned tomatoes, drain & chop tomatoes); cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the stock, pepper, and thyme; reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer the soup in small batches to a blender and purée well until completely smooth.  The trick to successful “creamed” soups is to blend longer than it seems necessary – at least 30 full seconds to one minute.  Return soup to a clean stockpot, or soup terrine.  Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.  Serve warm; garnish with basil chiffonade and a dollop of crème fraîche, if desired.