Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ratatouille Bisque with Parmesan Croutons

Whenever I hear ratatouille, I think of the cute movie about the little rat who wants to be a chef.  I don't remember exactly how this particular dish fits in, but I think the rat teaches the young man to make ratatouille...? Anyway, this recipe is a fun take on that dish.  The soup's healthy (pretty much all veggies), and if the croutons are not as nutritionally impressive, they are delicious and are perfect with the soup.

It isn't hard, but peeling/chopping/cubing all the veggies takes a little time and effort.  The reward is great though, delicious and wholesome comfort food :)

Ratatouille Bisque with Parmesan Croutons

Slightly adapted from Modern Comfort Food

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 small eggplant
1 medium zucchini
Two 14.5-oz cans chopped tomatoes
3/4 tsp dried thyme
generous dash parsley
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 or 1/2 cup half-and-half
salt and pepper to taste

thin slices French bread (however many croutons you want)
grated parmesan cheese

1. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes or until golden.  Stir in the bell peppers, eggplant, and zucchini.  Stirring often, sauté uncovered for another 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

2.  Stir in the tomatoes with juice, broth, thyme and parsley, sugar, and cayenne.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, until everything is cooked through. 

3.  In a blender (in batches), puree the mixture until smooth and return to the pot.  Stir in the half-and-half and more broth is the soup is too thick.  Add salt, pepper, more herbs, etc as you want.

4.  For the croutons, broil the slices of bread on a baking sheet until golden on one side.  Flip them over and butter each slice.  Sprinkle cheese over each one and broil until cheese is melted and bread is crisp.

Believe it or not, this was the first time I've used fresh garlic.  Usually I pull out the jar of minced garlic from the fridge, but I loved using fresh cloves :) They smell sooo good!

Cutting board part way through.  Lots of compost for my mom's worm bin- haha.

Onions and garlic are in the pot!



Tasty French bread...

dressed up with butter and cheese :)

The finished product!  I love the pretty orange color of the soup.

I also made a dessert last night, one that I'm pretty proud of :) Coming later!

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