Now is the time when we head out to the farmers market and we find a wide selection of summer squash, eggplant, zucchini. sweet peppers and tomatoes so why not make a ratatouille bisque? If you are wondering why I just didn’t call it ratatouille, I guess I didn’t want you to think I was talking about “rat soup” since so many people relate ratatouille with a movie about a rat that wanted to be a chef 🙂 And while I was doing my research about different bisque recipes I discovered ratatouille was actually a french word and a ratatouille nicoise is still quite popular in France today because it is low in fat, calories and nutrients (a big hit among dieters). I think we have all made a version of the nicoise at some point in our preparing vegetables but one thing I did read that was very interesting was to “cook each vegetable separate before you combined them so each vegetable would taste truly of itself”. That makes sense to me and I have tried it a few times lately with my squash dishes. You really can taste the individual flavor of each better if you saute them first alone. The other thing that I found interesting was the role tomatoes played in a ratatouille, it is the key ingredient. Look, we all learned something new today 😉
You might be asking how I came to a bisque out of making ratatouille? Once I had all the vegetables prepared, I thought they would go together great in a soup/bisque and since I promised to come up with some delicious soups for you – hey, it just seemed right. Enjoy!!!
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1 small eggplant, peeled and coarsely chopped (3-1/2 cups)
1 small zucchini, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
1 small yellow summer squash, cubed (1 cup)
1 cup coarsely chopped leeks (white part only) or white onion
1 large red or yellow sweet pepper, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup uncooked long grain rice
3 large tomatoes, quartered
3 14-ounce cans chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1-1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup no fat half-and-half
1/4 cup snipped fresh basil
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven that has been sprayed liberally with Olive Oil Pam, add eggplant and cook for a couple of minutes over medium-high heat. Remove eggplant and add zucchini, cook for a couple of minutes, remove and then add summer squash and continue this process until everything has had a chance to cook for at least 2 minutes. You may have to spray pan after each vegetable addition. Reduce heat to medium, combine all vegetables and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in rice and tomatoes. Cook and stir for 3 minutes more. Stir in broth, wine, tomato paste, fennel seeds, salt and black pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.
Process mixture in 4 or 5 batches in a food processor or blender until almost smooth. Return mixture to saucepan. Stir in cream and basil. Heat through, but do not boil.
This is another soup/bisque that you can serve in bread bowls. If you serve in a regular bowl be sure to have some hearty bread to accompany the soup/bisque. This is Delish!!! You can substitute different vegetables if you need or want to (even parsnips might make a good addition).