Sweet Red Pepper and Crab Bisque

The addition of red bell pepper adds color and flavor to the traditional smooth richness of bisque. Serve this soup with brunch or as a main course, with green salad and crusty bread. You can make the bisque up to two days ahead; cover and refrigerate it after pureeing. Serves 4.

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons Old Bay or other seafood spice blend
3 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
1/2 cup diced peeled russet potato
1/2 cup half-and-half or skim evaporated milk
1 pound crabmeat

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and seasoning. Cover; cook 10 minutes, stirring twice.

Add stock and potato; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover partially, and simmer until potato is very tender, about 30 minutes.

Working in batches, purée soup in blender. Return soup to saucepan. Add half-and-half; bring to a simmer. Mix in crab. Season to taste. Cover; let stand 1 minute.

Ladle into bowls.

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