Ratatouille Bisque with Parmesan Croutons

February 9, 2011 · 34 comments

filed in: Bakery,Dairy,Soups/Stews,Vegetables,Vegetarian/Vegetarian Option

Ratatouille Bisque with Parmesan Croutons

Developing new recipe ideas for this blog is a joy, but, as in other aspects of life, sometimes the creative juices just don’t want to flow. A bit of a nudge is needed. And so yesterday I took a stroll through my organic vegetable garden in search of inspiration. Although it’s winter here in Florida, we’re lucky enough to be able to grow tomatoes, eggplants, zucchinis, peppers, garlic, and herbs this time of year; that is, all of the ingredients of the classic Mediterranean dish of ratatouille. And the thought occurred: might not a fresh twist on ratatouille appeal?

This quick and easy recipe “repurposes” as a soup the lovely ingredients and flavors of ratatouille, and its taste pleases me no end. Hearty, warming, and chock full of the vegetables and herbs that make ratatouille such a popular dish, this soup is lovely for lunch or a light weeknight dinner served with parmesan or asiago croutons and a salad.

Ingredients

For the soup:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 red bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, sliced
1 small eggplant (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cubed
1 medium-sized zucchini (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cubed
2 1/2 pounds very ripe fresh tomatoes (or a 28-ounce can of high quality chopped tomatoes)
6 small sprigs fresh thyme (or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme or herbes de provence)
3 sprigs fresh parsley
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 or more cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
1/4 – 1/2 cup cream, half & half, or evaporated milk
Salt and pepper to taste

For the optional croutons:

4 thin slices of French bread
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon grated parmesan or asiago cheese

Preparation

  1. In a stock pot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil for approximately 2 minutes until golden. Stir in the bell peppers, eggplant, and zucchini. Sauté uncovered, stirring often, for an additional 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender and lightly browned, drizzling in a bit more oil if needed to prevent sticking.
  2. If using fresh tomatoes for this recipe, cut off their stem ends, lightly squeeze them over the sink to remove their seeds, rinse them, and slice them into wedges.
  3. Stir the fresh or canned tomatoes, their juices, the broth, herbs, sugar, and cayenne into the pot. Reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for approximately 15 minutes or until all ingredients are cooked though. If using sprigs of fresh herbs, remove them at this time.
  4. In a blender, in batches if necessary, puree the soup mixture until smooth and return it to the pot. Stir in the cream (or half & half or evaporated milk) and, if the soup seems too thick, additional broth or water. Reheat the soup mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed, by adding salt, pepper, and/or more cayenne to suit your preference.
  5. If making the optional croutons to accompany this soup, place the bread slices on a baking sheet and broil until golden on one side. Flip the slices over, butter them, and sprinkle them with the cheese. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Makes four 2 1/2-cup servings of soup and four large croutons.

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{ 33 Comments...read them below or add one }

A Canadian Foodie December 23, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Made it today – for Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow… but did change it up… though this recipe completely inspired me. I caramelized the onions, roasted and peeled the vegetables, then fried them until their was a beautiful brown sticky bottom on the pan. I added the tomatoes which lifted the bits from the bottom of the pan, and pureed it lightly to leave a texture in the soup. Will add the cream and broth tomorrow. The taste is lovely! I am serving seafood and thought this soup would be the perfect one for the evening! V

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Barbara December 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm

What a divine upgrade of this recipe, Valerie. Although I often roast the vegetables when making ratatouille, I was aiming for a quick, weeknight, one pot approach in the soup recipe above. Your method would provide even more flavor for a special occasion dinner.

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A Canadian Foodie December 6, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I have sure enjoyed spending far more than a few minutes browsing at all I have missed this past week on your site! What beautiful food and I just cannot tell you how much I appreciate and enjoy the fresh and clean look of your site and the way you photograph. I know I have told you before – but it is worth repeating. This soup drew me in. I adore soups and Ratatouille is my favourite vegetable dish to make so this is a MUST try recipe for me.

Thank you for the hard work on the development side. I will now participate on the cooking and enjoyment! Cheers! Valerie

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Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. August 7, 2011 at 11:54 am

yum! This looks fabulous!

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Karen February 16, 2011 at 9:14 am

What a fantastic idea, Barbara! I’ll have to bookmark your recipe for the summer when I can get fresh local veggies and herbs. Can’t wait!

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Aggie February 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm

This is my kind of soup! I love ratatouille, turning it into soup is a perfect idea! Looks delicious!

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Tanvi February 15, 2011 at 3:55 pm

This bisque will grace my dinner tabke tonite…very innovative recipe. I love the smooth texture of bisques!

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Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog February 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Barbara just passing here to say Hi! and I go on fixing the new WP. Love this type of veggie-soup very appealing also for the eyes – not only for the taste buds. Cheers and have a great Tuesday! Gera

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Robyn | Add a Pinch February 14, 2011 at 12:04 am

YUM! This looks like you got your juices flowing just perfectly! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

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Beth February 12, 2011 at 5:30 am

You’re very fortunate to be able to keep up a garden in the winter. We don’t have that option in Canada!

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Sophistimom February 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm

The title alone had me. Ratatouille Bisque!!! Genius!

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Lana @ Never Enough Thyme February 11, 2011 at 3:51 pm

What a novel idea! Taking that classic dish and turning it into soup. Fantastic! I’ve had a recipe for ratatouille printed out forever. I look at it every once in a while and slip it back into the folder because it just seems that it would take far too much time. Now I could have the flavors without investing a half day in the kitchen.

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Melody Fury February 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm

OH I adore the vegetarian option. The colour is remarkable too. Can’t wait to try.

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sonia February 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm

simply sensational and refreshing soup. Such a great combo with parmesan bread..!

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Maria February 11, 2011 at 10:35 am

Love this recipe!

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Deeba February 11, 2011 at 9:14 am

Your posts are pure food porn and a pleasure to see Barbara. This one is no exception. Love the way you brought this together…very inspired. Which camera and lens do you use? Your photographs are beautiful!

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Barbara February 11, 2011 at 10:35 am

Thanks so much, Deeba. I’ve always thought of you as my food photography hero, so your generous comment means a lot to me. I use an entry-level Canon Rebel XS with the standard kit 15-55mm lens. Since I never know what I’m doing with it, I wind up needing to do a LOT of photo editing!

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 11, 2011 at 8:21 am

What a nice take on a classic dish. I like the addition of cayenne for a bit of heat as well.

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A Canadian Foodie February 11, 2011 at 12:51 am

You’ve hit my funny bone with this recipe! I just had a knee jerk reaction! Get up and make this soup!!! Yousers! Does it look delicious. I love everything in it. Why did I never think of pureeing a ratta-howdoyouspellthat-touie? YUM. Great inspiration. That is why I love visiting here. Inspiration is always present!!!! Valerie XO

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marla February 10, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Barbara, great to see you back in blog land! I have missed you. This is a great way to serve up traditional ratatouille flavors. This soup sounds wonderful and I love the small amount of cream. xo

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Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels February 10, 2011 at 11:58 am

I LOVE ratatouille but would have never of thought of making it into a bisque! What a great idea. I’m definitely trying this!

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Jenna February 10, 2011 at 11:10 am

I echo the comments above–and great twist on a traditional dish.

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Shaina February 10, 2011 at 10:33 am

I love this twist on the ratatouille classic. Perfect!

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Jane Bonacci - The Heritage Cook February 10, 2011 at 10:24 am

Barbara – as always you have come up with another huge winner! I love everything about your blog, the recipes and photos are always so inviting. Thank you for sharing this wonderful soup!

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Megan February 10, 2011 at 9:55 am

I would LOVE to have a fresh tomato right now! Or that pizza.

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RJ Flamingo February 10, 2011 at 7:47 am

I’m with them – I love ratatouille and this soup is a great take on it!

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nancy@skinnykitchen February 9, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Looks so yummy. I’m going to try your soup but use evaporated skim milk or reduced-fat milk to replace the cream. Great photos too!

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Barbara February 11, 2011 at 11:04 am

I was intent on a bisque approach to this soup; thus, the inclusion of cream, h&h, or evap. in the recipe. But, I think it would work almost as well without any creaminess at all. Next time I make it I will try subbing olive oil to sauté the veggies, adding an extra garlic clove, and using only broth to thin down the soup.

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Shelby February 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm

This looks yummy! I think I would love it (I see cayenne – that about seals the deal for me!).

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Mags February 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Right up my alley. It looks delicious!

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City Share February 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm

I too love the smooth texture. It’s like a fresh taste of summer all warmed up for winter. Just perfect for the weather we have been having in NYC. Thanks for the recipe.

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Cookin' Canuck February 9, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I am on a bisque kick myself and love your idea of packing it with veggies. What a pretty soup!

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Kiran February 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Love the smooth texture of this ratatouille recipe. It’s a great idea!

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