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Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Pam cooking spray
8 red bell peppers
2 tbsp butter or mild vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 med carrot, scrubbed or peeled, and sliced
1 tbsp tamari or shoyu soy sauce
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 tsp honey or sugar
4-5 c chicken or vegetable stock
1 c heavy cream or evaporated skim milk
freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tbsp cornstarch

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large cookie sheet with Pam,
pierce each pepper with a fork, and bake 30-40 min, until the skin
is mostly charred and tuhe peppers slightly collapsed. Cover with
clean kitchen towels (this is important! It helps steam the skin
off) and let cool to room temp.

Core, seed, and peel the peppers. Cut in large pieces and puree
in the food processor or blender.

Heat the butter or oil on medium heat in a large skillet. When
hot, add the onion and saute about 3 minutes, until it begins to
soften. Add the carrot and saute another minute. Add the soy
sauce and stir until it evaporates. (You can be a little lenient
with this--I thought I'd die waiting!) Stir in the tomatoes, garlic,
and honey. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring,
untiol most of the liquid evaporates. Scrape the whole lot into
a heavy soup pot.

Add 4 c stock and the red pepper puree to the onion mixture. Bring
to a boil, then lower heat and simmer very slowly, uncovered, for
20 min. Reserve 3 tbsp of cream or milk and stir the rest into
the soup. Turn the heat to low. Add salt and pepper to taste,
and more soy sauce or honey if needed. Heat til very hot.

Mix the cornstarch into the reserved milk or cream and stir this
mixture into the soup. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring, until there is
no raw cortnstarch taste.

Garnish with basil or parsley and toasted slivered almonds, if
desired.

NOTE: If you want to get really fancy, roast six yellow peppers
when you cook the red ones. Puree seperately, cleaning the blender
between batches. Boil the yellow pepper puree til reduced by half,
and season with salt and lemon juice. Place in a squeeze bottle
and carefully garnish the soup with pretty squiggles! Very
impressive.

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