Sent in by reader Jeanne Kersting of Bethesda, Maryland. For richer texture and a little tang, garnish with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add celery, carrot, onion, and garlic; cook until onion is opaque and carrot is crisp/tender, about 10 minutes.
Add peppers, broth, 2 cups water, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until peppers are very tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove bay leaf; puree soup in batches in blender. Return to pot; add cream and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. If necessary, gently reheat before serving, and garnish with chives.