Serve this red pepper side-dish soup for a Halloween meal. Cut dark bread into bat shapes to serve with it.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for pans
- 4 pounds red bell peppers, cored, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 1/2 cups hot chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Preheat broiler and arrange rack 5 to 6 inches from heat. Lightly oil 2 shallow baking pans. Arrange bell pepper halves, in a single layer, in pans. Broil, turning occasionally, until edges are charred, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a blender.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to blender, add broth and puree until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Transfer mixture to a large saucepan; whisk in 2-1/2 cups water and the half-and-half. Heat over moderate heat, whisking occasionally, until hot, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar; salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle soup into mugs and serve with bat toasts.