Roasted Eggplant Soup (version VIII)

1/2 cup olive oil
4 medium eggplant
1 large Spanish onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
pinch crushed red pepper
3-5 cups stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel eggplant and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven until golden brown. Heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in large stock pot. Add diced onion, peppers, garlic, red pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sauté briefly over medium heat, reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 8-10 minutes until vegetables are soft.

Add roasted eggplant and cover with stock. Bring soup to simmer and cook for 30 minutes until onions and peppers are very soft. Remove from stove and add mint, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly and puree in batches in blender or food processor, or use stick blender.

Serves 4.

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