Vegan Tomato Bisque with Grilled Corn and Pasilla Peppers

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You might be looking at this and thinking, “Ooh, tomato soup spiked with warm, fragrant cumin and topped with charred corn and pasilla chile.  It’s vegan, too?  Sounds healthy.  I want to dig into that with a spoon and a giant quesadilla.  Fresh, toasty tortillas, covered with caramel-brown blisters and oozing with way, way more sharp pepperjack cheese than necessary, to be exact.”  

I know you…  And I thought the same thing.  We get along.

As you can see, I resisted, but I have leftovers and the week is young.  

Tomatoes are incredible right now, and good tomatoes should be everywhere.  They should be eaten like fruit, maybe with just a pinch of really great salt.  They should be exchanged as gifts and set out for houseguests in fine crystal bowls.  They miiiight have been what was in Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

Things start as they almost always do with soup: onions, celery, carrots.  The tomatoes?  Oh, no big deal.  Just the most awesome they’ve been all year.  The best ones are pretty much guaranteed to be at your local farmers’ market, so roll out of bed early at some point during the weekend, make coffee, curse the patriarchy for making you fix your hair (whether you’re male or female), and get to it!  

Pick up an ear of corn and a pasilla chile, too.  Do you know how things go from “good” to “great”?  Propane and a direct flame.  This works with corn, peppers, cherries, and fraternity hazing rituals.

Anyway, grill these.  Add broth and spices to the other stuff, cook for a bit, puree it in a blender.  Peel and chop the pepper, slice the corn off the cob, and you’re done!  Happy tomato season to you.

Vegan Tomato Bisque with Grilled Corn and Pasilla Peppers

1 ear corn
1 pasilla chile
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for grilling chile and corn
1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup chopped carrots
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
About 2 lbs fresh tomatoes, blanched and peeled
1 quart low-sodium vegetarian broth 
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Preheat a grill to medium-high.  Drizzle corn and chile with a bit of olive oil and grill until corn is charred on all sides and chile is blistered (approx. 10 minutes).  Remove from grill, and place the chile in a bowl, covering tightly with plastic wrap.  Allow to cool slightly while you make the soup.

Over medium heat, combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil, onion, carrots and celery in a large saucepan and saute until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and spices–cook for 30 seconds or so, just until fragrant and well incorporated.  Throw in the tomatoes and break them up a bit with your wooden spoon.  Add the broth, reduce heat to low and simmer for 35 minutes or so.

Remove from heat, allow soup to cool slightly and process in your food processor or blender until smooth.  Return to pot, stir in almond milk and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Allow soup to reheat if you’d like.

Slice corn off the cob with a sharp knife.  Peel skin off the chile, discard stem and seeds and chop finely.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with chile and corn.  Serves about 4, generously.

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  1. says

    yeah….I’d totally be dipping a quesadilla all up in that. I LOVE tomato soup and somehow have never, ever made one. I need to get on this!