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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THAI-CHILI TOMATO BASIL SOUP

Junior is the tomato soup lover in the family, but the rest of us enjoy it as well. This easy version has the added oomph of Thai-Chili sauce and basil–a fabulous combination that, though I served it hot, would probably be delicious as a cold summer soup. Come soon 🙂

Thai-Chili Tomato Basil Soup

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2-14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)

2-1/2 cups chicken broth

2 tbsp Thai-Style Chili Sauce (I used Kikkoman brand)

1 tbsp basil paste (I used Gourmet Garden brand found in produce section)

1 cup croutons (I used Texas Toast brand)

1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese

1) Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat; add onion and cook 8 minutes, stirring often, until onions are soft and lightly browned

2) Reduce heat to medium and add canned tomatoes with juices, chicken broth, chili sauce, and basil paste; cook 10 minutes

3) Using an immersion blender (if you don’t have one, use a table top blender–careful, it’s hot!), blend into a coarse puree; remove soup from heat, ladle into soup bowls, and scatter with croutons and parmesan cheese; serve

Servings: 3-4