Thursday, April 22, 2010
I have a passion for any kind of hot and spicy food. Say the words "hot and spicy" and I'm totally on board. I was beyond excited when I saw this recipe for Chile Bisque while paging through my copy of Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. An entire soup made out of chile peppers? How come I had never heard of this before? I bookmarked this recipe right away and knew that I had to try it ASAP!
The bisque consists of 6 ancho chiles, 1 chipotle chile, olive oil, garlic, long-grain rice, veggie stock, bay leaves, and cream. The recipe is a tad bit time-consuming, mostly because the chiles need to soak for at least an hour. However, once you have soaked the chiles, everything comes together pretty quickly.
Adapted by HTCEV by Mark Bittman
*Serves 4 (easily serves 6-8)
5 or 6 (3 ounces) dried ancho chiles
1 chipotle chile, dried or canned (don't use too much of the adobo if canned)
2 tablespoons EVVO
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup medium or long-grained rice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 quart vegetable stock or water
2 bay leaves
1 cup cream
Put a skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Toast the dried chiles until darkened slightly and fragrant, about 2 minutes per side. If you're using canned chipotle, set it aside for later. Put the dried chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Use a plate to keep them submerged if necessary. Let the chiles soak until soft, an hour or so.
After the chiles have been soaking for about 30 minutes, put the oil in a deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until soft, about a minute. Add the canned chipotle, if you're using it, and the rice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue cooking and stirring until the rice starts to turn translucent, about 2 minutes more.
Add the stock and the bay leaves and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so that soup bubbles gently, cover, and cook undisturbed until the rice is very tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.
When the chiles are soft, drain them, carefully remove their stems and seeds, and add them to the soup pot. Fish out the bay leaves. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pan. Or cool the mixture slightly (hot soup is dangerous), pass it through a food mill or pour it into a blender, and puree carefully. (The soup may be made ahead to this point, cooled, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold or reheat it gently). Add the cream and turn the heat under the pot to medium. Gently reheat the soup until hot but not boiling. Cook, uncovered, for another 3 - 5 minutes, until slightly thickened (if it's too thick, add a little water or stock). Taste, adjust the seasoning, then serve.
Notes/Results: I love the gorgeous pumpkin color! The bisque is packed with smoky flavor and is probably not for everyone. It is definitely hot and spicy, but the main flavor that comes through is the smokiness from the peppers. There was no way that I could eat the soup straight up, so I garnished it with some fried tortilla strips, grated monterey jack cheese, and chives. Even with the garnishes, this is a very strong-flavored soup and is probably best served in small portions. If you love smoky flavors, then this is a great recipe for you. I did like the soup, but am learning that smoky flavors aren't my personal favorite. I would recommend this soup to someone who likes both spicy hot and smoky. It is a gorgeous and unique recipe.
I am submitting this recipe to I Heart Cooking Clubs for Potluck Week!
I am also submitting this recipe to my friend Deb over at Kahakai Kitchen for her weekly Souper Sunday roundup!