Think about a big steaming bowl of soup and then wait a moment as your mind begins to wander. Are you having happy, comforting thoughts? Maybe memories of being sick as a child and either your mother or grand-mother serving your favorite soup with a towering stack of saltine crackers?
Soup can be warm and comforting on a cold day, chilled and soothing on a hot day, the cure for the common cold or even good for the soul. And it doesn’t take a lot of ingredients to make a really flavorful soup. In fact, last weekend, I think I may have created my favorite soup ever. While I was at the grocery store, I passed by a display of the most gorgeous, fresh poblano peppers I had ever seen. I couldn’t help myself. Soon my cart was filled with poblanos, red bell peppers, fresh cilantro, carrots, onions and all the remaining ingredients to make my own version of fire-roasted poblano and red pepper bisque.
The most fun part of this recipe is fire-roasting the peppers. It’s one of those few times when it’s okay to actually ‘burn’ an ingredient! And speaking of burn, the slow burn from the poblanos, just might make you think twice about what you consider ‘comforting’ when it comes to soup.
3 poblano chile peppers
3 red bell peppers
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
32 oz low sodium broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 cup reduced fat half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Place the whole poblano and red bell peppers over a flame or under the broiler in the oven and char the peppers until they are blackened on all sides. Don’t worry about the blackened skin, the more char, the deeper the smoky flavor.
2) Remove peppers from the heat and place them in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the peppers to steam for a minimum of 15 minutes. This will help loosen the skins on the peppers.
3) Once the peppers have steamed and you see they have begun to wrinkle, peel off the skins, remove the inner membrane and seeds and roughly chop the flesh of the peppers.
4) Melt butter in a large saucepan and add the poblanos, red peppers, onion, and carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
5) Sprinkle in the flour and whisk in the broth until blended. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
6) Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth and add the half-and-half, cilantro, salt and pepper. Simmer the soup a few minutes longer until hot and then ladle into bowls and serve.