Anisette Cream has the key to my heart, but I’ll save that for later.
This soup has been lingering in the back of mind since last year when I made this in culinary school. I tell ya, of all the dishes I made in class, the most memorable recipes have been soups. If you haven’t checked out the French Onion Soup I posted, do that now.
This soup is built with insane flavor from beginning to end. Flavors and smells that will have you hovering over the pot the entire time. I was so impressed with this recipe I knew I had to share it with the world. I tracked down where it originates from and come to find out it came from Chef Patrick O’ Connell in his cookbook (and assuming restaurant) The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook. Now if that doesn’t sound like a cozy little place, I dunno what does. I took a “look inside” Amazon’s digital version and found recipes ranging from a fettuccine with country ham and morel mushrooms, to a complex veal loin with black currents, to simple grandma’s baked beans. I tell you it’s those secret cookbooks that have the winners, just sayin’.
Looking at the recipe, it may seem like it has a lot of components. Typically when I glance at a recipe I turn away after I see a long list or something I can’t pronounce. Guilty. Don’t turn away on this one – I’ll walk you through the entire thing.
First thing first, fire roasted red peppers. Roasting red peppers without a gas stove is a total pain in the ass. This recipe calls for five of them and I don’t recommend shorting any. Since I do work at a restaurant, I charred my peppers there. Actually, I half charred them because I got a little impatient. Allow your peppers to get BLACK. I promise they’ll look scorched, but will peel at an ease. If you don’t have a gas stove at home, you can fire up the grill or roast in the oven at a high heat. The oven takes the longest, so if that’s your only option I would just buy the jarred roasted red pepper. No one’s looking. After the peppers are charred to a crisp, throw them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This creates steam and helps the skin peel off. Roasting the pepper not only removes the skin, but gives them an incredible sweet flavor.
Once the peppers are charred, peeled, and chopped, I combine them with 1 large peeled and chopped tomato. To peel a tomato (technical term concasse)(conk-a-say) all you have to do is score it, place in boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer to an ice bath. The skin will peel with ease! These steps are the most annoying, so knock em’ out in the morning or the day before. Since it’s now October and I made this while tomatoes were still ripe, crack open a can of San Marzanos and chop up a 1/2 cup of them!
Once those are set aside, I continue on with my prep. The other yums in this recipe range from seasonings like thyme, fennel seed, bay leaf, and aromatics like basil, garlic, onion, and jalapeno. I mince the garlic and jalapeno, chop the basil and onion, and combine all that together because it’ll all get thrown in the pot at the same time.
Once the prep is done, the recipe comes together pretty darn fast. The yums I just mentioned are added and cooked together for about 5 minutes. Flour is added in, cooked out, then cold chicken stock is added. The flour is added and combined with the oil which acts as a roux. Allowing it to cook a few minutes helps remove the raw flour taste. Take a whiff and once the flour smell isn’t there, it’s ready for the broth. The trick to any soup thickened with a roux is a contrast in temperature. Since the roux will be hot, we want to add in cold stock. After the stock is added you add the tomatoes and peppers, bring to a simmer and stir until thickened. With the cold stock, there won’t be as many lumps from the flour. We are getting good at this guys.
I let that cook for 15 minutes before transferring it to my blender where I blend the ish out of it. Using an immersion blender is totally fine and actually much safer. Pureeing a hot soup in a blender creates steam and explosions and lots of bandaids, so be careful. Transfer that back to the stove and stir in the cream. While that sits, make the ansiette cream!
Oh my gosh this stuff. If you’re unfamiliar with Anisette, it’s a licorice flavored liquor and the combination here is ahmazing. So many kudos to the chef behind this brilliance. If you have Sambuco on hand, it can be replaced! I have to warn you, a full bottle of this stuff is like $12 which is pretty expensive for a one time thing. The only reason I purchased the big one is because I’m trying to re-create a clams casino recipe using Sambuco and I have a few other recipes in mind. The Dekuypur brand I bought was much less expensive than Sambuco and overall has the same taste, so why not. You can try and find this in mini bottles for like 2 bucks!
I whipped up some heavy whipping cream then continuously added the liquor, sugar, lemon zest and juice, until the taste was just right. Once the taste is right, you’ll know. At this point it was like forget the soup, I want this stuff. Just kidding. Have both and become the happiest person alive.
I can’t wait for you to make this.
- 5 red peppers
- 1 large tomato
- 1/2 onion - diced
- 2 t. fennel seed
- pinch fresh thyme - chopped
- 1 bay leaf - crumbled
- 3 garlic cloves - minced
- 1 handful fresh basil - chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno - minced
- 4 T. flour
- 4 c. chicken stock - cold
- 1 c. heavy cream
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 1 lemon
- 2 T. Anisette Liquor
- pinch of sugar
- Char the peppers over a gas stove or grill until very black. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. This will help them feel very easy!
- Peel, rinse, and chop. Disregard the stem.
- For the tomato, score with a paring knife by lightly cutting an X. Place in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, or until you see the skin peel. Transfer to an ice bath. Peel and dice.
- Combine the peppers and tomato and set aside until needed.
- Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom a medium saucepan and heat. Add the seasonings, garlic, basil, onion, and jalapeno and cook until the onion is translucent, 5 minutes.
- Add the flour and stir. Cook for 2 minutes to rid the raw flour taste.
- Add the chicken stock and stir. Add the tomatoes and peppers and bring to a simmer while stirring. Simmer for 15 minutes until thickened.
- Transfer to blender to puree, or use an immersion blender. Be careful, it's hot and if using a blender it will steam!
- Strain through a chinois or thin strainer pressing to release as much soup as possible. Transfer back to the pot and reheat. Stir in the cream, salt, and pepper. Taste to season.
- To serve dollop with the cream, recipe below.
- Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the juice of a lemon, lemon zest, liquor, and sugar until desired taste is achieved. You'll know when it's good, trust me.