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Monday, March 23, 2015

Stuffed Bell Pepper Soup

So here's the deal, my dad is a great cook! He is the grill master but can also throw down in the kitchen. My dad is easily inspired to try new recipes and constantly prints out recipes he finds and puts his spin on them. Each time he makes something he writes down notes on how he changed it up so his recipes are ever-evolving. This is a perfect example for his stuffed peppers. He found a recipe that was good but needed tweaking and every time he makes them, it gets better. Now, I can honestly say, they are the best stuffed peppers I've ever had.

A long while ago my brother-in-law suggested I post a recipe for stuffed pepper soup. It's been on my list of things to make and this past week it happened. Well Joel, this ones for you! This was a really easy recipe that didn't require too much attention and felt hearty even though it was healthy (ish...it's my girl math working here). I made this on a week night and the most time consuming part was waiting for the brown rice to cook. If you are short on time I'll give you some shortcuts on modifying this recipe.

 Start with dicing up a bunch of bell peppers. I used about 1/2 of each color (red, green, yellow, and orange). Large chunks are good so they don't disintegrate into the soup.
My dad makes his stuffed peppers with sausage, and maybe beef or turkey, (I need to find out!) so I made my soup with spicy chicken sausage but use whatever you like best. Brown up the meat but don't worry about it being cooked all the way through. This is just for caramelization. Remove the meat from the pot and reserve it on a plate.

Now, toss in your bell peppers with a little olive oil. I also added a few minced garlic cloves and a sprinkling of red onion (always sneaking it in). Over high heat just stir the peppers around to get a little color on them but keep them nice and tender with a good bite. After a couple minutes remove them from the pan and reserve with the sausage.
Look at that marvelous caramelized bits left behind! That's where the flavor is, so pour in a little wine, red or white, whatevers open and scrape up the bits with your spoon.
 Next, add in your rice. I used a cup and a half of brown rice because that's what I typically eat but if your a white rice eater that's fine too! Stir the rice around and add in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste. This adds a nice rich depth to it.
Once the tomato paste is stirred in add a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes and a whole carton (a 32 oz) of chicken broth.
 Pop in a couple bay leaves, salt, and pepper and put the lid on, simmering the rice until it's cooked through. This will vary on which rice you use so check the cooking time on the rice label. *To save time, you could simmer this broth down for several minutes and add in pre-cooked rice. Because the rice won't absorb the liquid I would scale the broth back by half.
 Once the rice is cooked through add in your sausage and bell peppers and simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes until the peppers are tender and the sausage is cooked.
 Oh, how glorious! This is not a "brothy" soup, more of a hearty stew. You can always add more broth if you like.

I served mine with warm whole wheat naan bread and finished it with shredded cheese which isn't shown here. Hope you love it!


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