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Chilled Grilled Red Pepper Soup with Crème Fraîche

Updated February 23, 2016
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The vibrant hue and intense flavor of this soup will have everyone begging for the recipe.

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.

Serves6

CostModerate

Moderate

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursecold appetizer

Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, halal, high fiber, kosher, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Equipmentblender, food processor, grill

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecreamy, garlicky, herby, light, savory, smoky, sweet, tangy, tart

Type of Dishcold soup

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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

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

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).

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.

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