Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Red Bell Pepper Bisque

September has an abundance of beautiful, fresh red bell peppers in the grocery stores and farmers markets.  They are at their height of sweetnes so load up on them!  (Also full of vitamin C)

Here is a great easy way bisque to make and pop into your freezer for a yummy soup on a cold winter's night!  Make it a little more substantial by adding some cooked shrimp or crab!

Red Bell Pepper Bisque
Serves 4 as a main course

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, peeled and copped
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 red bell peppers (about 1 ¾ pounds total), seeded, de-ribbed, chopped into 1 inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock
¼ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup crème fraiche, or sour cream, for garnish

Heat heavy 4 quart pot over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil and carrot, onion and celery.  Sauté until carrot turns bright orange and onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.  Stir in 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and the bell peppers.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers start to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add enough stock to cover vegetables and bring to a rolling boil.  Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer until all vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes

Removed from heat and blend using an immersion blender or a stand blender.  (Use caution as the mixture is very hot.  Start with a low speed and gradually increase.)  If desired, strain pureed soup through a medium-mesh strainer. 

Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt, pepper and additional cayenne is desired. 

If necessary, gently reheat the soups over low heat, stirring constantly.  Garnish with a drizzle of crème fraiche or sour cream.

COOKS NOTES:  If you are going to freeze, do not add the cream.  Just add when you thaw and serve. 
Also, don't strain and the soup has a little more texture. 

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