What is a coulis, you may ask? Well…its a type of thick sauce made from puréed vegetables and fruits. I had the best red pepper coulis EVER at a local restaurant here in Champaign called Bacaro. Its not a vegan restaurant, but the chef used to be vegan, so he is kind enough to prepare something special for us every time we go. He recently paired some delicious mushrooms and squash with a tasty red pepper coulis, and I have been craving it ever since. Attempt number one (which I was quite pleased with!):
3 large red bell peppers
Canola or Safflower oil (to coat peppers for roasting)
1 1/4 cup homemade vegetable stock
3 shallots, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
In a large saucepan, bring the vegetable stock, shallots, garlic and wine to a simmer.
Place the red peppers on a rimmed baking sheet and coat with a bit of canola or safflower oil. Roast in the oven, checking every 15 minutes or so and turning them to make sure that all sides of the skin are wrinkled and charred. Use some tongs so you don’t burn yourself (like I have done on many occasions.) Remove the peppers from the oven and transfer them to a plate, stacking them on top of one another, then cover with some paper towels. Place a bit of ice water in a bowl. One at a time, place the peppers into the bowl of ice water and peel the skins off. Discard the skins, stems and seeds of the peppers.
Add the peppers to the simmering vegetable stock mixture and cook until reduced by half, probably about 20 minutes or so.
In a small bowl, add the cornstarch and a little bit of water and mix together to create a paste. Add this to the saucepan and stir to combine. Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.