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Chilled Grilled Red Pepper Soup with Crème Fraîche

Photo by: Mark Shapiro
Comments: 0


The vibrant hue and intense flavor of this soup will have everyone begging for the recipe.

Yield: Serves 6


  • 3 cups (750mL) chopped white onions
  • 3 (45mL) tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups (500mL) sliced red bell peppers, peeled, seeded and grilled
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • ½ (2mL) tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp (1mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 (1.25 L) cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup (125mL) half and half (10%) cream
  • 1 tbsp (15mL) tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • ½ (125mL) cup crème fraîche or plain yogurt
  • 1/3(75mL) cup chopped fresh basil


1. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened.

2. Add garlic, peppers, basil, salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

3. Add stock; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. In a blender or food processor, purée mixture in batches. Pour into a large bowl. Allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled (at least 3 hours).

4. When ready to serve, stir in half-and-half and vinegar. Adjust seasoning to taste. Ladle into soup bowls. Add a dollop of crème fraîche and a little chopped basil to each serving.


To make this easy soup even easier, char-grill the peppers the day before. Simply preheat a lightly greased grill and plunk the whole peppers, intact, onto it. As they char, turn peppers constantly to ensure an even grilling. Remove to a baking sheet to cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Then, before they cool completely, place in a paper bag to steam for a few minutes. Afterwards, their blackened skins will slip off effortlessly. Cut open peppers and remove the seeds and stems. Keep peppers in a plastic container.

Often you will find that a reliable cheesemonger sells crème fraîche, or at least an approximation of this French concoction. If you can’t find it, use this method to make a very good substitute: Warm 1 cup (250 mL) (35%) whipping  cream gently.

Remove from heat and combine with 2 tbsp (25 mL) buttermilk or sour cream in a glass bowl. Mix well, cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Give the mixture a good stir once it has thickened, then cover and refrigerate. It will thicken even more once chilled and keeps well for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

© 1999, 2007 Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

214kcal (11%)
78mg (8%)
46mg (77%)
80mcg RAE (3%)
16mg (5%)
502mg (21%)
3g (17%)
12g (19%)
1mg (5%)

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