Sweet Roast Red Pepper Bisque with Jalapeño Cream
How to Roast a Pepper
Roasting peppers is a simple thing to do and the flavor that it adds to a dish is excellent. This is an ancient technique of cooking vegetables where the peppers are not actually “roast” in the oven but over an open flame. The skin becomes charred black as night. With a little steam the skin just about falls off the pepper leaving only the tender cooked flesh with a light smoky flavor. This can be done outside over a grill or directly over the open flame of the burner on your stove.
The first time that I had seen this done was while I was at culinary school in the mid 1980’s. The chef instructor had a thick German accent and when he told me to put the pepper over the flame of the burner I thought I had heard him wrong and instinctively reached for a skillet. After telling me again he became frustrated and grabbed the pepper from my hands and put it on the flame himself. At the time I thought he was nuts, but when I tasted the resulting product I knew that he wasn’t. Thus, to roast a pepper do this:
Place the pepper directly on the grate of your gas stove with the flame adjusted to medium. Using tongs turn the pepper every couple of minutes until the outside is completely black. Place the pepper(s) into a small paper bag and seal it closed. Allow the pepper to rest for a couple of minutes. The steam that naturally occurs loosens the skin. Remove the pepper, and while holding it under cold running water gently rub of the blackened skin (it’s wise, but not essential, to do this over a small colander to catch the skin, which may clog the drain). If you are roasting very spicy peppers it may be a wise thing to where latex gloves when handling them. After the skin is removed gently tear the pepper in two and remove the stem and rinse the seeds.
Combine two or more fire-roasted jalapeno peppers in a blender with a cup of sour cream or crème fraiche and puree until smooth.
Roast Red Pepper Bisque
Makes about 12 cups
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups diced roasted red pepper
2 cups heavy cream
Sauté the onion, celery, and carrots, over medium heat in the butter or olive oil for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for another minute or two. Stir in the flour and cook over medium/low heat for 5-10 minutes. Add the chicken broth, stir with a whisk to remove any lumps. Stir in the diced peppers. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the heavy cream simmer 2 minutes. Puree in a food processor or blender.
The green swirl is the jalapeno cream (the recipe is included in the text).
Sometimes I add cheddar cheese to this...it will add a creamy texture and flavor, but so will the heavy cream. Thanks for your comments and let me know how the recipe comes out when you make it.