Cream of Red Pepper Soup

Adapted from Still Life with Menu"
Preparation time: 50 minutes
Yield: 4 to 5 servings
An indescribable shade of creamy red-orange, this is a beautiful, rich-tasting soup that is quite easy to prepare. You can do steps 1 through 4 up to several days ahead. Then let the soup come to room temperature (or a little warmer) before puréeing it with the milk. Also, be sure the milk is at least as warm as room temperature. Attention to these details will prevent curdling.
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil)
2 cups minced onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
5 medium-sized red bell peppers- stemmed, seeded, and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk (soy okay) - at room temperature or warmer
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional, for the top:
Sour cream (thinned by whisking slightly)
Torn cilantro leaves
  1. Melt the butter and/or heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and swirl to coat the pan.
  2. Add the onion and garlic, and cumin, cook over low heat, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the bell peppers and salt, stir well, cover, and continue to cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Gradually sprinkle in the flour. Cook, stirring, for another 3 minutes or so. Remove from heat.
  5. Purée in a blender, bit by bit, with the milk. Pour the puréed soup back into the soup pot. You may wish to strain the soup to get a smoother texture
  6. Heat very gently (do not boil), then add black pepper to taste. Serve topped with sour cream and/or torn cilantro leaves, if desired.
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