Fall is here! Fall is here!! We went from 9o degree days to cool, breezy 60s. Which means one thing: IT’S SOUP SEASON!!!! This stuffed pepper soup is one of my favorites and I can’t believe I haven’t posted it until now! Remember my deconstructed stuffed peppers? Well, this is basically the soup version. And it is oh-so-delicious. It has sausage, brown long grain rice, tons of peppers, tomato juice, and chili sauce to give it that classic stuffed pepper taste. But, probably the best part? It’s a one pot meal! Once you cook the sausage in your soup pot, you add all of your other ingredients and basically forget about it for an hour. That’s my favorite type of recipe.
Matt and I are in a beef CSA this fall. For those of you who are thinking wtf is she talking about … CSA stands for community supported agriculture and is one of my favorite ways to support local farmers. CSA’s are very popular with produce, but coming across a meat one was really exciting for us. With CSA’s, you pay your local farm up front in exchange for produce, or in our case meat, throughout a season. This helps the farmer get the funds they need to start the growing season and you are promised a share of the goods once they start producing. The fun thing about CSA’s is that they are always a surprise based on what is in season. So you get to try new veggies you wouldn’t normally eat, or try new cuts of meat! It has been really fun for us. But, the reason I love it so much is that the farmer we are doing it with is totally free range, grass fed & finished, antibiotic free, etc. etc. etc. She invited us all out to the farm to see the animals, see the conditions, and take part. She is a totally open book as far as her farm goes and you are allowed to go out any time you want to check on the animals and see how things are going. I love this. I love it so much. I was never a huge meat eater, because of the conditions of animals in most “grocery store” meats. I just couldn’t do it. Now, I am still not a huge meat eater, but if I am going to eat meat, this is the way I want to do it. So, I’ve sworn off all “grocery store meats” and I am sticking to my local farmers instead.
So, this month when I picked up my beef CSA, I also asked her for some of her pastured pork sausage. I got a pound of italian and a pound of chorizo. And, oh my gosh, so delicious. This recipe calls for a pound of sausage, total, so I did half italian and half chorizo, but you can do whatever type of sausage you prefer. As far as peppers, I say mix it up. I’ve been using whatever is ready to pick in the garden, so it is always a mix of different spice levels. If you don’t like spicy, do all bells. Or, if you want some heat, add in some jalapeños or hungarians. Now, the secret ingredient in this is a jar of chili sauce. WHAAAATTTT??!?! Pre made, not all natural, what are you thinking?! And, I know, not my finest move. But, it adds such a great flavor and thickness that I haven’t been able to duplicate yet. When I figure it out, I’ll let you know. But, for the rest of this recipe being basically all homegrown (except the rice), I’m okay with it.
I use my homemade vegetable stock and I use homemade tomato juice. I freeze tomatoes all season and then in the winter I use my handy, dandy steam juicer to make tomato juice for soups. A lady at my work let me borrow her 40 year old steam juicer to make grape jelly last year (rather than the traditional cheese cloth straining mess) and I’ve never looked back. I was online ordering one immediately after finishing up jelly. It is a bit of an investment, but they will last forever if you take care of them (hers at 40 years old still worked perfectly). And seriously, you just throw the grapes in (or tomatoes in this case), put some water in the bottom and wait. Then you squeeze the tube, let all the juice flow out, and you are done. No mess, no straining, no nothing. Now, you can also use tomato juice from the store if you want to. Just check the ingredients, make sure you are actually getting 100% tomato juice.
So, homemade broth, homemade tomato juice, homegrown peppers and celery, local sausage … you can see why this is one of my faves. Here is the recipe for y’all:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound sausage (I used half spicy, half mild)
- 4½ cups chopped mixed peppers
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups tomato juice
- 1½ cups chili sauce (12 oz jar)
- 1 cup brown long grain rice
- Heat olive oil in stock pot over medium heat.
- Add sausage and brown until cooked.
- Add peppers, onions, celery, and garlic and soften for 5 minutes.
- Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer for 1 hour or until rice is cooked.
OVER TO YOU: Are you in any CSA’s? What is your favorite thing about them?