Summer is hanging on this year with every last ray of sunshine in the Bay Area. With temperatures reaching the triple digits inland, I used a bounty of summer veggies to make a refreshing chilled soup courtesy of my trusty charcoal grill.
This recipe is from one of my go-to cookbooks: The Sunset Cookbook from Sunset Magazine. I highly recommend you pick up a (used) copy – Amazon has them for less than $10. It’s full of really delicious recipes from Southwest chefs and home cooks, tons of great prep and cooking tips, and highlights ‘farmers-market-fresh’ ingredients from the Southwest region, which is a philosophy I fully embrace – grown locally, eaten locally.
On days like this (which are rare in the Bay Area during the summer), it makes me happy we live on the Pacific side of the peninsula where the ocean breeze manages to cool our little bungalow. Better yet, recipes that don’t require me to turn on the oven are always welcome.
I love that this soup brings together a few of summer’s bountiful ingredients (what should you do with all those peppers?!) and creates a healthy meal perfect for lunch or as a first course for brunch (or dinner). If a vegetable bisque doesn’t exactly work for everyone in your family (ahem, the meat eaters), serve it alongside grilled fish, steak, or chicken.
When you add in diced avocado, pico de gallo, or a few gluten-free corn tortilla chips – it’s just awesome.
Grilled Corn and Pepper Bisque | Serves 6-8
If you’re thinking to yourself that this sounds like a lot of work all for some soup, do yourself a favor and let your grill do double duty. I grilled the veggies for my soup and this marinated flank steak for dinner at the same time. This gave the veggies a chance to cool down while we were enjoying dinner. With the Hubs on cleanup, the soup prep was easy-peasy. Cut, blend, chill.
4 ears fresh sweet corn
1 lb red, green, orange, or yellow peppers (variety is best), halved lengthwise with seeds and ribs removed
1 red onion, sliced
2 green onions (white and green pars), trimmed
2 jalapenos, halved lengthwise with seeds and ribs removed
2 teaspoons olive oil, for brushing on vegetables
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 lime, juiced
salt + freshly ground black pepper
Suggested Garnishes: Diced avocado, pico de gallo, sour cream, cilantro, sliced green onions, and/or broken tortilla chips
1) Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct high heat. Rub corn, bell peppers, red onion slices, whole green onions, and jalapenos lightly with olive oil. Place vegetables on hot grill (close lid on gas grill). Cook, turning occasionally, until slightly charred, about 5 minutes total for green onions and jalapenos; 10-12 minutes for the large peppers, onions, and corn. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
2) Cut corn kernels from cobs; chop peppers, green onions, and jalapenos. In a blender, puree sour cream, cilantro, cumin, green onions, jalapeno, 1 3/4 cups of the stock, and half of the corn kernels, until smooth. Pour into a soup pot or dutch oven. Stir in remaining stock and corn kernels to the blended mixture. Add lime juice, chopped peppers, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3) Chill soup until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Just before serving, dice up ripe avocado and garnish with sour cream, cilantro, sliced green onions, and/or gluten-free corn tortilla chips.