Chef John Folse's Roasted Red, Yellow, and Green Sweet Pepper Soup

Prep Time: 1 Hour
Yields: 10-12 Servings

Roasting sweet peppers has been a tradition in Louisiana ever since the Italians first arrived to work in the cane fields and markets of the state. The roasted peppers, when served with virgin olive oil, basil and cracked pepper in a cream soup, make a tasty and beautiful dish.

4 red bell peppers
4 yellow bell peppers
4 green bell peppers
1/2 cup diced tasso ham
1 cup butter
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 cup seeded, diced tomatoes
1 cup flour
3 quarts chicken stock (see recipe)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsps chopped basil
salt and white pepper to taste
Louisiana hot sauce to taste

To roast peppers, place whole peppers directly over open flame or under broiler. Turn frequently until skin blisters and blackens on all sides. Remove and place into a brown paper bag, seal tightly and let stand 10-15 minutes. Peel blistered skin from pepper under cold running water. Seed and dice peppers then set aside. Dice tasso ham and set aside. In a 2-gallon stockpot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add tasso, onions, celery and garlic. Sauté 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Blend in tomatoes and half of roasted peppers. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until a white roux is achieved. (See roux recipes.) Stir in chicken stock, one ladle at a time. Pour in cream, bring to a low boil and reduce to simmer. Cook 30 minutes. Add basil and remaining peppers. Season to taste using salt, pepper and hot sauce. NOTE: This soup, when reduced to half volume, makes a wonderful sauce for pasta, fish and chicken.