Roasted red pepper and tomato bisque

Recipe by James Eddington
Eddington’s of Exeter
527 Main Street, Exeter

This is a simple little recipe that I hope will inspire you to plant some peppers and tomatoes this spring. If, as I do, you lack a green thumb, no need to fret; they are easy to grow. I bought the seeds, followed the instructions on the package and stuck them in planters on the front porch. Even with the lack of frequency in our watering patterns, I produced healthy, vibrant and delicious plants that were enjoyed all summer.

Beyond the varietals, take a look at the benefits!

Tomatoes are fat-free, low in sodium, and have been shown to lower cholesterol. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A and calcium. They are also packed with phytonutrients, including lycopene, an antioxidant that protects our cells from damage. They have proven to help prevent a wide variety of cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, lung, and pancreatic cancer. Tomatoes also contain an array of nutrients that work to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease, including fiber, potassium, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, and lycopene. Finally, tomatoes also contain phenylalanine, an essential amino acid important in the functions of the kidneys and bladder. Phenylalanine has been found to boost energy levels, ease depression and increase mental clarity.

Bell peppers are also rich in vitamin C and vitamin A. The vitamin B6 and folic acid in peppers reduces homocysteine levels that increase our risk of heart attack and stroke. Bell peppers are also a good source of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and reduce our risk of heart disease. Red bell peppers also contain lycopene.

1 yellow onion (diced)
1/2 bunch celery diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic
4 large red bell peppers, roasted, skinned and diced

Note: when roasting red peppers, char out side until black, place in stainless steel bowl and cover until cooled. This will steam the skin, making it a lot easier to peel.

5 large tomatoes, chopped in cubes (Any variety works. I used simple field tomatoes in my soup.)
1 clove
2 bay leaves
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces honey
Salt and pepper to taste

In large stock pot, sauté onions and celery in olive oil over low/medium heat, stirring occasionally until soft. Add 1/4 cup white wine to deglaze pot. Add 3 cups of stock, 2 cloves of garlic, diced peppers and chopped tomatoes. Bring to rolling boil then simmer for about an hour. If needed, add water to thin mixture. Once ingredients are soft, puree with hand blender. Return to medium heat and add 35% cream and honey, and blend again. Add cloves and bay leaves and let simmer on low heat until ready to serve. Add pinch of salt and pepper as needed, or more honey if desired.
If you want to be creative, add balsamic vinegar for a unique flavor or substitute one red pepper with a hot pepper for kick.
Have fun and enjoy.

Cheers, James Eddington