Roasted Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper Soup

3 large japanese eggplants (or 1 very large
2 sweet red peppers
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 quart stock
1 bunch fresh basil
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Wash eggplants and split lengthwise in halves (in quarters if using 1 large regular eggplant). Lightly season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with olive oil to taste. Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Puree flesh with skin in blender or food processor and set aside.

Place peppers under broiler until skins are scorched on all sides. Place in plastic bag for 10 minutes to soften, then peel and remove seeds. Puree flesh in food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet. Sauté onion and garlic until tender. Cover to sweat over very low heat for 5 minutes. Add roasted eggplant puree and stock to onion-garlic mixture. Cook over low heat 15 minutes until flavors blend and mixture is heated through.

Puree mixture in blender or food processor until smooth, then strain into clean bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, place serving of soup in deep bowl and spoon red pepper puree in center, swirling it into soup. Drizzle lightly with olive oil if desired, and sprinkle with chopped basil.

Makes 6 servings

It has a wonderful smokey taste and is good either hot or cold.

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