I was happy to see several farmers with baskets of large green bell peppers last week at market.  My garden peppers were unusually small this year for whatever reason and I had yet to have a nice stuffed pepper this summer. I grabbed a bunch of these and some ground beef, all set to go. But when it actually came time to make them, after seven one night during the week, I just didn’t have enough time to devote. I looked for similar, alternate options and came across a recipe for stuffed pepper soup. I was skeptical, but the result mirrored the flavors of a stuffed pepper almost completely and took half the time to prep. I cooked a small pot of quinoa, instead of taking the longer amount of time to cook rice, separately and added that in to my bowl before eating. I guess it proves that almost anything can be turned into a soup.

Stuffed Pepper Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb ground sirloin
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, diced
3 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 bay leaf
1 quart stock
28 ounces crushed tomatoes (canned or fresh)
1 cup grains or small cut pasta
a handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
grated Parmesan cheese for topping

If using a quick cooking grain, prepare separately in a small pot according to standard directions. Heat a medium soup pot over medium heat with the olive oil. When hot, add the beef and season with salt, pepper and the allspice. Cook the meat until browned, about 5 minutes, then add the onions, garlic, peppers and bay leaf. Cook for 10 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. When boiling, add in pasta, if using, and cook until al dente. Turn off the heat and fold in the basil leaves. Remove bay leaf. Serve. If you used a grain, add in desired amount to each bowl. Top with the Parmesan. Serves 4 – 6