Towards the end of my “staycation” last weekend, I took my mom to Larchmont Village, a quaint street in LA lined with shops and eateries, seemingly out-of-place in the big city. Larchmont is comparable to a mini version of downtown areas such as Laguna Beach, San Clemente or Greenville, SC.
Conveniently, my mom and I made it in time for the Larchmont farmer’s market on Sunday. We purchased a variety of fruits and vegetables, including succulent strawberries, fresh pasilla/poblano chiles and plump bell peppers, most notably the chocolate bell peppers (which I’d never seen before).
I decided to use the chiles and peppers in a roasted red pepper soup with pasilla chile cream. The soup was delectable, with the distinct flavor of the bell peppers, complimented by the slight kick of the cool pasilla chile cream.
If you’re making this for your family, I suggest doubling (or even tripling) the recipe. :)
Recipe (serves 2-3 people):
3 tbsp. finely chopped shallots
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
6 red bell peppers, roasted (procedure follows) and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more if thicker consistency desired
Fresh lemon juice, to taste, about 1/2 lemon
Place gas burners on medium heat, then place one bell pepper on top of each open flame. Using tongs with a long handle, frequently rotate peppers on the burners, until skins blister and blacken, about 15 minutes.
Remove peppers from the heat, then place in glass bowls. Cover bowls with Saran wrap and let the peppers sweat. Once peppers have set, remove from the bowl and peel off the skin.
In a heavy saucepan cook the shallot, the thyme, and salt and pepper to taste in the butter over medium low heat, stirring, until the shallot is soft. Add the bell peppers and 1 1/2 cups of the broth, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the peppers are very soft.
In a blender purée the soup in batches until it is very smooth (or use immersion blender), forcing it as it is puréed through a fine sieve set over the pan, cleaned, and whisk in the cream, to reach the desired consistency, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Pasilla chile cream recipe:
1/2 pasilla chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
In a blender or food processor, blend together the chilies, the garlic paste, and the créme fraîche/sour cream until the mixture is combined well. (Be careful not to overblend the mixture or the cream may curdle.)
Force the mixture through a fine sieve set over a small bowl. Pasilla cream can be kept covered and chilled, but brought to room temperature before serving.
Ladle soup into bowls then drizzle pasilla cream over each serving.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.