Mary Anne here. So I guess it seems I’m in splurge-mode these days, while my dutiful daughter has been shopping her market’s sale shelves. That being said, I do have a pretty good excuse for this pricey dish: I was serving my Osso Bucco to very special guests (Mariel, my niece, and their respective husbands!). My intent was to create a starter course that had a certain elegance, while light enough to only tease the appetite, leaving plenty of room for the main event. This soup was both tasteful and aesthetically pleasing, almost a consomme really – and it just happened to coordinate with my finely dressed table!
To serve this as the main event, I suggest adding 1 or 2 boiled potatoes to the puree. The potatoes will thicken the soup and create a heartier version. This can be made vegetarian by simply swapping out the chicken stock for vegetable and skipping the crabmeat. And BTW, lest you think I’ve crossed over to the dark side of gratuitous spending, I used ALL of my leftover veggies and herbs and have been feasting on homemade vegetable soup this week. We’ll post it soon so you can share in the bounty of meals that keep on giving, even if those meals occasionally take more out of the old wallet then you’d like.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Crabmeat Serves 10 as a First Course or 4 as a Main Course
Ingredients: 4 – 5 large red bell peppers (about 2 lbs) – $5.91 2 leeks, washed thoroughly and diced – $3.99 1 clove minced garlic – stock 1 Tablespoon olive oil – stock 3 Tablespoons sweet butter – stock 3 Tablespoons flour – stock 8 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned stock – $5.00 (if using canned stock.) 1 Teaspoon dried thyme – stock ¼ cup cooking sherry – stock pinch of cayenne or to taste – stock ½ lb. lump crab meat – $8.99 2 scallions (green onions), julienned (optional) Crème fraiche or sour cream (optional) Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $23.89 Total Per First Course Serving: $2.39 Total Per Main Course Serving: $5.97 Directions: 1. Preheat the broiler. Place the peppers about 2 inches away from the heat and char, turning frequently until blackened on all sides. Transfer the peppers to a paper bag, folding the opening closed and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. 2. Peel and seed the peppers. Cut into coarse dice and set aside. 3. Using a heavy stockpot, heat the olive oil. Sauté the leeks over medium flame until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 4. Using the same stockpot, prepare a roux by melting the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook over medium-low flame for several minutes, being careful not to brown the flour. Whisk in the thyme and season with salt and pepper. 5. Very slowly, add the chicken or vegetable stock, whisking constantly. When fully incorporated, allow to simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Note: The roux will give the soup body, but it will thicken only slightly. 6. Using a food processor armed with the steel blade, puree the hot soup in batches. Return the pureed soup to the pot and adjust the seasonings. 7. Add the crabmeat, and simmer the soup just until the crab is heated through. 8. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream and sprinkle with julienne of scallions.