This recipe is a delicious lesson in how roasting sweetens and deepens the flavor of bell peppers. The peppers can be roasted a day ahead and refrigerated until you are ready to prepare the soup. -Recipe by Taji Marie
Cooking Light MARCH 2005
Preheat oven to 500°.
To prepare soup, place peppers on a jelly-roll pan. Lightly coat peppers with cooking spray. Bake at 500° for 30 minutes or until blackened on all sides, turning occasionally. Place peppers in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 20 minutes. Peel and discard skins. Cut in half lengthwise; discard membranes and seeds.
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leek, potato, and carrot; cook 5 minutes. Stir in paprika and bay leaf. Add water and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Stir in roasted pepper halves; simmer 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
Place half of bell pepper mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid. Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining bell pepper mixture. Keep warm.
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare croutons, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; reduce heat to medium. Stir in wine; cook 15 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Stir in thyme and garlic; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat, and stir in parsley, cream, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
Place bread on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes or until toasted. Place 1 heaping tablespoon mushroom mixture on each crouton. Serve croutons with soup.
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