roasted red pepper soup

Roasting the red bell peppers results in a sweet, slightly smoky flavor. Accompanied by a salad and crusty peasant bread, this soup makes a great light supper.

2 large red bell peppers
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
4 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce to taste (optional)

1. Preheat broiler. Cut bell peppers in quarters; trim and discard seeds. Place quarters on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for about 10 minutes or until skin blackens and peppers soften. Place peppers in a paper bag. Roll the top of the bag over to seal, and set aside for about 10 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a stewpot over medium heat. Sautè the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic for about 7 minutes. While the vegetables cook, peel the blackened skin from the roasted bell pepper quarters and coarsely chop. Add peppers to stewpot, along with vegetable stock. Add tomato paste and spices and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

3. Use your favorite method to puree the soup: blender, immersion blender, or food processor. Heat for an additional 5 minutes. Ladle soup into serving bowls.

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