In what is looking to become a recurring theme, it appears I have several ingredients in my fridge that are long overdue for use (see: about to go bad), including a significant portion of red bell peppers I have been using for salads, pastas, and coulis.
It’s a Friday, my work week is over, and I’m thrilled to be in the kitchen after a week long break- not by choice, I simply haven’t had the after work energy. My good friend Ficken is on the way over to hang/help, so I start on my kitchen playlist. For me, and I don’t know if it’s this way for any one else, but music and the creation of food go hand in hand. Like hot sourdough bread and butter. Like milk and cookies. Like Hall and Oates. Something special happens when I’m in the kitchen and the music is playing – I can’t quite put words to it yet. More thoughts on this later. I begin to compile my playlist instinctually, without thought- a little Sufjan Stevens, a little Panda Bear, some Fleet Foxes. It appears I am a folk mood. Let’s balance it out a little. Lil Wayne makes the cut, a little Athlete, some Saturday Knights, and I call it good. Time to get down to business.
This recipe wasn’t that difficult or too time consuming- roasting the peppers was a little challenging, but other than that, a walk in the park. As I was roasting these bad boys under the grill, the smell quickly took over the whole house, and it was fantastic. I I can’t get the smell out of my head, or my clothes, for that matter. But that’s not entirely a bad thing.
2 lbs red peppers
1 yellow onion, diced
1 T butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 quart chicken stock
3-4 T heavy cream
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
.5 lbs prawns, deveined and shells removed
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp parikia
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
In a large soup pot (4.5 quart or larger), add onions and butter and sweat the onions till almost translucent, but still firm, about 6-7 minutes. (Sweating an onion is the act of cooking the onion over low heat in butter or oil, taking care not to brown the onions. The onions will begin to give off a lot of moisture, hence the term sweat.) Add crushed garlic and cook for two more minutes. Remove from heat.
While the onions are sweating, place whole peppers underneath a broiler on high. Try to get the peppers about 3 inches away from the heating element. As soon as the skin of the pepper is completely black, rotate the pepper under the broiler to black the next side. Repeat until all sides are black. When finished, put the peppers in a brown bag or in a bowl under a cloth for a few minutes, until cool enough to handle. (This will steam the peppers making it easier to remove the skin.) After the peppers have cooled for a few minutes, remove the skins, pull out the core and cut into four pieces. Take care to remove all the seeds. (I did this by scraping a knife against each pepper. If you miss a few, not a huge deal, we’ll strain them out later.)
Place the roasted pepper pieces into the pot with the onions. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil- cook the peppers for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a blender or food processor, blend the soup for a minute or two, until very smooth. Using a fine strainer, pour the mixture through the strainer back into the pot, the goal being to remove any seeds, skin or chunks you missed. Add cream, spices, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Pull from heat.
Put all ingredients in a ziplock bag and mix thoroughly. Place prawns on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 for about 2 minutes, until tops of prawns are pink. Remove from oven, flip the prawns, and cook another minutes into mostly pink and barely translucent.
Plating and Presentation
Serve bisque in bowls. Arrange prawns on outside edge of bowl. Using a tablespoon or squeeze bottle, float a few drops of cream on the top of the soup for garnish.