TOMATO-RED BELL PEPPER SOUP WITH COUNTRY HAM AND CHICKPEAS

I like tomato soup. However, I rather love this Tomato-Red Bell Pepper Soup. The combination of tomatoes, red bell peppers, country ham, and chickpeas is amazing. I made one mistake–adding salt to the soup while cooking, which is usually the perfect addition to tomato-based soups. However, the country ham provided plenty of salt. Regardless, this soup is scrumptious!

Tomato-Red Pepper Soup with Country Ham & Chickpeas

1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained

1 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup water

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

4 oz country ham, finely chopped

1-15 1/2 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 tsp ground cumin

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2) To large soup pot add crushed tomatoes and heat over medium; when tomatoes are heated through and start to bubble, stir in roasted red bell pepper, cream, water, basil, paprika, and black pepper; reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally

3) Meanwhile, to large baking dish add country ham and chickpeas; sprinkle with cumin, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat; bake in oven 5 minutes, stir, and bake additional 5 minutes; remove from oven

4) Using an immersion blender, puree tomato-red bell pepper soup (if you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender, but be careful–hot!);

5) Ladle soup into bowls, spoon country ham-chickpea mixture over top, and sprinkle with parsley; serve!

Servings: 2 hearty dinner-sized servings; 4 hearty side dish servings

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CHICKEN-CHICKPEA-POTATO SOUP

I adore chickpeas–hot, cold, and in between. And, apparently, my guys aren’t immune to their charms either. Though this recipe makes four hearty servings, Senior was disappointed when, in answer to his request for a second serving, I had to tell him we had scraped the bottom of the soup pot.

Chicken-Chick Pea-Potato Soup

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried sage

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1-10 can chicken breast, undrained

2-1/2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced

1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup matchstick carrots

2-1/2 cup chopped fresh baby spinach

1) To large soup pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil; add onions, celery, thyme, sage, and black pepper and cook 6-7 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables are tender

2) Add chicken broth, chicken breast (including liquid), potatoes, chickpeas, and carrots and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook 25 minutes

3) Using an immersion blender*, puree soup lightly (you’ll want to retain the texture of some whole veggies and chicken); stir in spinach, immediately remove from heat, and serve

*Note: If you don’t have an immersion blender, puree half the soup in a regular blender (Careful! Soup is hot!), then stir pureed soup back into un-pureed soup.

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions