Green pepper soup tastes like stuffed peppers without all the work

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By Norm Harding, Reporter

 It’s a satisfying meal that warms you up on a chilly winter day. Soups are good for you and, best of all, they are easy to make. Now that winter is here, soup is the perfect way to warm up after coming in from the cold evening air.

Whether you choose soup or chili, these winter comfort foods can include whatever ingredients you like. I prefer to make my soups in large batches, leaving plenty for tasty leftovers. Everyone knows soups taste better the second day, anyway.

I prefer a hearty, thick soup for this time of year, rather than the thin, brothy-type. I like soups with ground meats or sausage and lots of cooked vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, onions and beans. The Portuguese Soup with Kielbasa or Sausagecombines all of these ingredients, and even includes some cooked cabbage, a favorite of mine.

If you have a craving for stuffed green peppers, try the Stuffed Green Pepper Soup.It tastes like stuffed peppers without all the work. Also, I have found people who liked stuffed peppers but don’t like the pepper itself will have no problem with this dish. If you prefer, serve the cooked rice on the side instead of with the soup.

Try some of these recipes and serve some soups that may give your family a little something different during these cold winter days. Be sure to include lots of crusty bread with your meals. Who knows, you may discover a new family favorite.


Portuguese Soup with Kielbasa or Sausage

2 lb. kielbasa, Polish or andouille sausage, chunked

1 can (14.5 oz.) tomato sauce

4 cups water

2 potatoes, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 onion, diced

1 Tbsp. salt

2 cans kidney beans, undrained

1 head cabbage, chopped

Place all ingredients, except the cabbage, into a large pot or kettle. Bring to a boil, then cook on medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, or until veggies are tender. During the last 20 minutes, add the chopped cabbage.


Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

Instead of making this soup from scratch, you can always turn your leftover stuffed peppers into soup by cutting up the peppers and adding a little beef stock and/or V-8 juice.

2 pounds ground beef (or ground turkey)

4 cups beef broth

1 can (28 oz.) tomato sauce

1 can (28 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups cooked long grain rice

2 cups chopped green peppers

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 tsps. salt

2 tsps. pepper

Garlic powder to taste

In a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until peppers are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

This soup can also be made in a crockpot. Just brown and drain ground beef. Add to crockpot along with all other ingredients. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Makes 10 servings.


Mexican Tortilla Soup

1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, packed

1 Tbsp. chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

4 cups chicken broth

1 cooked chicken breast, diced

1 lime, juiced

Tortilla chips

1 diced avocado

Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro leaves and chipotle peppers in a blender or food processor. Add a small amount of the chicken broth and blend the mixture until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and stir in the remaining chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Add the diced chicken breast or leftover chicken and continue to simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the flavors are blended. Remove from heat and stir in the limejuice.

To serve, place a handful of tortilla chips into each bowl and ladle the soup over them. Top with diced avocado and an additional pinch of chopped fresh cilantro. Makes 4 servings.


Hearty Herb Cheese Soup

The combination of herb cheese, meatballs, potatoes and peas in a creamy beef stock makes for a hearty soup on a cold winter day.

1/4 cup (4 Tbsps.) butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

8 cups hot beef broth

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen peas

4 ounces processed herb-flavored cheese

1 can (14.5 oz.) sliced, white potatoes

Frozen meatballs (small), about 12-15

2 Tbsps. chopped chives

Melt butter in a soup pot. Stir in flour and cook over low heat to make a roux. Stir in hot beef broth; bring to a boil. Add peas; simmer for five minutes. Slice or break-up herb cheese into soup in small bits and stir until melted. Add potatoes and meatballs to the soup; cook for five minutes at a bare simmer. Stir in chives. Makes 8 to10 servings.


Italian Style Sausage and Bean Soup

3 cans (15.5 oz) Great Northern beans, drained

1 can (14.5 oz.) Italian stewed tomatoes, undrained, chopped

2 cups beef broth

2 cups yellow squash or zucchini, cubed (fresh or frozen)

3/4 lb. Italian sausage or Italian turkey sausage

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 cups chopped spinach (if frozen, squeeze dry after thawing)

In a large pot, brown sausage; drain off all fat (if using turkey sausage, you may need to add a little water when cooking). Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on medium/low heat for 45 minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese. Makes 8 to 10 servings.


German Muenster Cheese Soup

3 cups skim milk

2 cups whole-wheat bread crumbs (fresh)

2 tsps. Dijon mustard

1 cup Muenster cheese, shredded

Nutmeg (garnish)

Paprika (garnish)

Minced parsley (garnish)

In a blender, add 1-1/2 cups of milk, fresh breadcrumbs and mustard and process on low speed until smooth. Place mixture in a saucepan and add remaining milk and the Muenster cheese. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts and the soup is heated through. Do not boil. Pour into bowls and sprinkle with nutmeg, paprika and parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, email him at nharding@brunswickbeacon.com.