Roasted Red Bell Pepper Tomato Soup

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Tomato Soup
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Serves 4

2 tablespoons organic canola oil
2 1/4 pounds fresh vine-ripe tomatoes, halved lengthwise (should equal 
approximately 3 cups depending on the type of tomatoes used)
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and quartered
2 large shallots, peeled and halved
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 tablespoon sugar, optional
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 cups vegetable stock
Homemade croutons
Sour cream or mascarpone

Place the cut sides of tomatoes up and arrange on large cookie sheets. Add the 
shallot halves and garlic to the pan with tomatoes. Drizzle the canola oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Roast the vegetables for approximately 40 minutes in a preheated 450 degree oven,
until the skin is brown and tender, turning the peppers and shallots halfway 
through roasting. If any of the vegetables brown before the peppers, remove them to a bowl and continue roasting the peppers. Remove the vegetables from the oven when
they are cooked. Cool completely.

Place the cooled vegetables in a food processor or blender along with any juices, 
add the basil and thyme. Gradually add the stock to thin the soup until desired
consistency. Return the pureed vegetables to a Dutch-oven and heat through, 
stirring occasionally.

Top the soup with a dollop of sour cream or mascarpone and the homemade croutons.

Homemade Croutons from History Lover's Cookbook by Roxe Anne Peacock
Preheat oven to 300 degrees

6 slices of your favorite stale bread, crust removed Italian, French, Sourdough)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: If you are using plain bread, whole grain etc., add spices you love such as Italian seasoning, garlic, a little cayenne, chipotle chili powder etc. 

Slice the bread vertically into one-half inch strips. Next, cut the strips horizontally into one-half inch cubes. Spread the cubes evenly in a single layer on a large
cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for approximately 35 minutes or 
until the cubes are dry and crisp. Cool completely and then store in an airtight 
container for 2-3 days.

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