Stuffed Pepper Soup

When we were first married, Ryan and I took turns cooking dinner. We cycled through some of the same meals most of the time, but sometimes I'd have time in my busy undergrad schedule (yes, I was that idiot who took 23 credits in a semester with special approval from the department of Music - bad, bad, idea. But it had to be done if I was going to graduate within 4 years with a Music Degree at BYU!!!), to try a brand new recipe. I think this era was when the small seedlings of Baking with Blondie were planted, and my love of trying new recipes was born. 

They weren't all successes at first, though, I totally BOMBED dinnertime plenty of times. I remember burning a pan of orange glazed chicken so badly that I called Ryan crying. We threw the pan away, and agreed to get our weekend date-meal that night at Cafe Rio. I felt like a total failure! Little did I know that only a few years later, I'd be able to make that same chicken with ease, along with a crazy toddler "helping" along the way. 

One night I remember making stuffed peppers for dinner. I used some green peppers, and stuffed them with just about the same ingredients that are in this amazing soup...

I don't think either of us got the memo that when you eat stuffed peppers, you kind of have to take a bite of pepper along with each bite of the stuffing. We ended up eating the stuffing, and had two large peppers on our plates!! We aren't a fan of eating peppers plain, so we totally wasted them and threw them away! Oh man, looking back, that was just crazy. 

Now, fast forward to this glorious soup. We didn't have to work hard to eat that entire pepper - it was right in with the broth and other amazing ingredients! 

We made this soup with ground beef as a base, but I think next time an Italian sausage would be so dreamy. We tossed in two different kinds of peppers, the green was for a little more body and the red was for that slight touch of soft heat. The soup alone tastes like a really lovely curry (without the, well, curry spices of course), but topped with the cooked jasmine rice this was a WIN. It was such a different soup than what we are used to having for dinner, and the texture play was incredible. The deep tomato flavors played along perfectly with the juicy broth soaked with glorious veggies. I think using brown rice would be lovely here, too, if you'd rather have a little more. Brown rice tends to fill us up a lot quicker! If you're looking for a beautiful bowl of soup to make this week or weekend, this little lady is all yours. :) Enjoy! 

Stuffed Pepper Soup
makes about 6 servings

1 lb lean ground beef
2 T olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3/4 chopped red bell pepper
3/4 C chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5) oz can beef broth
2 1/2 T chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1 C cooked jasmine white rice
mozzarella or cheddar for serving

1. In a large pot over medium heat, add 1 T oil and beef. Season with salt and pepper while breaking up the beef, until browned. Drain beef and pour onto a plate lined with paper towels, set aside. 
2. In the same pot, heat remaining 1 T oil and add onions, peppers, and saute for 3 minutes. Add garlic, and saute another 30 seconds longer. Pour in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, and then add the parsley, basil, oregano, and cooked beef. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring just to a light boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover with a lid, then simmer, stirring every 5 minutes or so, for about 30 minutes. 
3. Cook rice, if it hasn't already been prepared. Serve soup hot with a heaping scoop of rice, a little parsley for garnish, and a sprinkle of cheese. Store soup separately from rice if there's any leftovers. 

Recipe source: Cooking Classy

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