Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Green Pepper Soup

            I like soup. I always have. Creamy and delicious clam chowder was my meal at many a family dinner out. I am from New England after all. There is just something so comforting about a good cup of soup. A rainy weekend on a Lake is as good as an excuse for any for some good soup comfort.
           When I was younger, we spent weekends in New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesauke. Every year, we would have my dad’s mother, Grammy “Meow” and my mother’s mother, Grammy Pat spend a weekend with just my mom and me up there. A girl’s weekend.  This weekend was a vessel for lots of food and shopping, and the occasional burnt-popcorn-setting-the-smoke-alarm-off freak-outs. One summer when I was maybe 13 or 14, it was rainy as all hell on the lake and we couldn‘t walk around the outdoor outlets my grandmothers’ loved so much. Instead, we decided to go for a drive because the Lake is beautiful when it’s kind of rainy. We managed to get about 20 minutes away from our campground when we got hungry. We ended up at this tiny diner at the end of Alton Bay. The waitress offered us their soup of the day, Green Pepper Soup. Um, yum? 4 bowls please. We couldn’t stop talking about it. My mom tried to replicate it a week later, and came pretty close. Its basically stuffed pepper in soup form, something I didn’t put together until maybe last year, because I always called it “green pepper soup.” Since then, this soup has become a staple in my life. It’s on the same level as shepard’s pie in my comfort food library. It’s the soup my mom made and blended into a smoothie when I smashed my front teeth out of my head. It’s the soup I make when I need to remember my mom and when I need a little coziness in my life. Its just comfort food at it’s finest.

            So recently when I stumbled across SkinnyTaste.com, and discovered that Gina makes a slimmed down version of my favorite soup, I knew it was happening this week. I usually make something in a big batch that I can freeze and eat leftovers of for a few days in my crock-pot. The leftovers from this soup, I could eat everyday of my life. I made some changes to accommodate my tastes like not using diced tomatoes because I think they’re gross. I can’t deal with tomato chunks. As well as cooking it in the crock-pot and used some tomato juice, like my mom used to.

Green Pepper Soup
Adapted from SkinnyTaste

·      1 lb. ground beef
·      2 chopped green bell peppers
·      1 cup diced onion
·      2 tsp. minced garlic (I use it from a jar. I cheat and I’m ashamed. But I’m over it.)
·      2 - 6 oz. cans tomato juice (technically V8, but we can all use a few more veggies, and it’s what I had on hand)
·      1 3/4  c. tomato sauce
·      2 cups chicken broth
·      1 ½ cups rice
·      salt and pepper

1. Brown ground beef on high heat and season to taste. Drain fat and reduce heat to medium and sauté peppers, onions and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes on low heat.

2. Add beef, peppers, onions and garlic into crock-pot (at this point, I put my crock-pot in the fridge and add the rest of the stuff in the morning.) Then add tomato juice, tomato sauce, and chicken broth. Cook on low 4-6 hours.

3. Add the rice about an hour before it’s done (I used instant brown rice). I ended up adding 2 more cans of the V8 too because I like it a little soupy.

4. Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

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