Jan 18, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Stuffed Pepper Soup

January is national soup month in the U.S., which makes sense.  Most of us are faced with cold and/or wet and/or snowy weather this time of year, so a bowl of hot and hearty soup warms us from the inside out.  

Like last year, I've focused on soup recipes each Wednesday in January.  (You can find lots of soup recipes in my Recipe Box here.)  Today's recipe is a newer one I recently found on Pinterest.  I made it for our family last week, then made it again for the Bunco girls on Monday night. It was one of those recipes that was on the right track, but needed some modifying; here's my second rendition which was well received:

Stuffed Pepper Soup
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced
2 green peppers, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, or 2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 jar mushroom and pepper spaghetti sauce
1 can petite diced tomatoes
3-4 cups chicken broth
1 cup cooked rice (1/2 cup uncooked)

In large stock pot, brown beef.  Drain and remove from pan. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute onion and peppers until soft. Add back the beef and all other ingredients except the rice.  Simmer for an hour or longer.  Just before serving, stir cooked rice through.  Makes 6 servings.

The original recipe called for two cans of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce; not spaghetti sauce.  And a LOT more rice. It also had a very short - 35 minute - cooking time.  When we tried it, we found the rice made it very thick; more like a stew. And the flavor of the peppers and tomatoes didn't really meld together, but remained raw and distinct. I gently modified the ingredients and quantities, and adjusted the cooking time. That is key to most soups:  unless you're dealing with ingredients that will toughen or fall apart if cooked too long, be sure to give your soup some time for the flavors to release and come together.

Happy cooking!

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