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TOMATO AND SWEET RED PEPPER SOUP 
SOUP:

5 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lg. onion, peeled, quartered & thinly sliced
4 tomatoes (6 oz. each), peeled, seeded & chopped (3 c.)
2 sweet red peppers (6 oz. each) cored, seeded & diced (2 1/2 c.)
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1 1/2 tsp. dried
2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/8 tsp. sugar
6 c. chicken stock or chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste
1 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. dairy sour cream or heavy cream

GARNISH:

1 c. finely diced ripe tomatoes
1 c. finely diced sweet green pepper
2-3 tbsp. snipped fresh chives

1. Prepare Soup: Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in large casserole over moderate heat. Add onion and cook until soft, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato, red pepper, thyme, paprika and sugar. Cook over moderately low heat until all tomato juices have evaporated, about 25 minutes.

2. Stir in chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boiling. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

3. Strain soup, reserving broth and solids separately. Place solids in food processor or blender, working in batches if necessary. Cover; whirl until smooth. Whisk puree into reserved liquid.

4. Melt remaining butter in casserole over moderate heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute; do not let brown. Slowly whisk in soup. Bring to boiling. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. (Soup may be made ahead to this point and frozen.)

5. Whisk in sour cream or heavy cream and just heat through; do not let boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot in individual bowls. Garnish with diced tomato, sweet green pepper and the chives.

Note: For a lighter soup, omit the cream.

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