Spicy Vegetable Bisque

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cloves diced garlic
2 stalks celery chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped
1 large onion chopped
2 tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 pound broccoli florets
1 red or yellow bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, cut into small strips
1 chipotle chili pepper canned in adobo sauce
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each ) chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1. In a large saucepan heat up the olive oil and add the next 7 ingredients. Cook the vegetables until they become soft. Remove from heat and cool. Place the vegetables in a blender along with the chipotle pepper and blend until smooth and slightly chunky. Pour blended vegetables back in the saucepan and add the broth, half-and-half, oregano, thyme, pepper and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes until mixture is reduced to the proper thickness. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until it is all melted.

Servings: 6

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