Soup de Jour

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Renie Steves, founder of Cuisine Concepts cooking school, shares her recipe for this bright and colorful soup—a dish that will make any spring table beautiful.

Yield: Serves 8-9

Ingredients:
12 large, very ripe yellow bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups chicken stock
3 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, optional
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Milk, if needed, to thin soup to desired consistency
Garnish of fresh thyme and pepper strips

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 400°. Line two large baking sheets with heavy-duty foil. Remove seeds and white piths from peppers. Cut peppers into 1- to 2-inch strips and toss lightly with oil. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheets. Stirring occasionally, roast until peppers are tender and beginning to brown—about 50 minutes.
2.    Transfer peppers to a large saucepan. Add stock and cook to reduce liquid to about 4 cups. Cool slightly.
3.    Working in batches, puree mixture in blender. Add half-and-half. Reheat in saucepan and add salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Thin slightly with milk as desired.
4.    Garnish with fresh thyme and pepper strips.