With the cooler weather, I’m craving soups and toasty breads. Since I’m the veggie lover in our household – as well as the soup lover – I’m trying to encourage our littlest man to enjoy them too! This soup, however, was all about my tastes since it’s pretty spicy. It was really easy and can be made with minor adjustments (vegetable broth instead of chicken) to be vegetarian and vegan.

  • 3 lbs red bell peppers halved and cleaned
  • 1 head garlic (or less, if you prefer)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • crushed red pepper or hot sauce to taste

Preheat oven to broil (around 350 degrees). Lay the red bell pepper flat, skin side up on a cookie sheet (I put down a layer of aluminum foil first for easier clean-up). Core the tomatoes, wrap in aluminum foil, and set them on the cookie sheet as well. Cut the top off the head of garlic so a few of the cloves peek through, drizzle in olive oil, and wrap in aluminum foil. Place foil wrapped garlic on pan too.

Place the baking sheet under the broiler for 15 to 20 minutes or until the skins of the peppers blacken. Turn off the oven, pull out the peppers, and toss them into a gallon sized ziploc to steam. Return the pan to the hot (but off) oven and let the tomatoes and garlic finish roasting.

In a 2-quart pan, drizzle olive oil and heat over a medium-high heat. Add thyme, bay, and onion. Sauté until onion is soft – 5 to 7 minutes. Add broth. While broth is heating, pull out peppers and rub to remove skins. Add each pepper half as you have removed the skins. Remove tomato and garlic from oven. Add whole tomato and squeeze out as many of the garlic cloves as you like. (I like my food garlicky, so I added 7 or 8.) Add rice wine vinegar. Continue to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove bay leaves. Using a stand blender or immersion blender, process until smooth. Return to pot and season with salt, pepper(s), and/or hot sauce to taste. Serve hot!

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