DATIL & CARROT BISQUE

Datil peppers are the “local” pepper in Saint Augustine.  They are similar to habanero peppers but have a sweeter, fruitier flavor.  This soup won the “People’s Choice” award for Best Appetizer at the 2010 Datil Pepper cook off.

Ingredients:

1 Lb.  Bacon chopped

15 Lg. carrots (2 lbs. approx.) peeled and roughly diced

2 Lg.  yellow onions roughly diced

˝ Head of celery roughly sliced

5-8 Whole datils (depending on size) finely chopped including seeds

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1 Tablespoon paprika

2 Gallons Chicken stock (you can substitute with bullion base and water if stock is not available)

1 ˝ Lbs. Havarti cheese shredded

Instructions:

Sauté the bacon in a large soup pot until crispy.  Add the carrots, celery, and onion and sweat for five minutes stirring occasionally.  Add the datil peppers, garlic and paprika and continue to cook on Med. High heat for another five minutes.  Finally add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a moderate simmer and continue for thirty more minutes or until the carrots are very tender.  Remove from heat and separate the solids from the liquids by straining into two separate containers or pots.  At this point you will want to have the cheese shredded and on hand.  Fill your blender almost half full with the solids and then pour equal amount liquids.

 ** Do not blend hot liquids without first removing the center cap from your blender lid and cover lightly with a kitchen towel.  Also start with a light pulse until the solids begin to combine with the liquids.

 Repeat the last step until all the solids have been blended with the liquids to the desired consistency.  After every batch in the blender gets emptied into your container, stir in a handful or two of havarti each time and let the cheese slowly melt into the soup.  Season with kosher salt and white pepper to taste and enjoy.

Recipe courtesy of Collage Restaurant, Saint Augustine, Florida

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