Tag Archives: red peppers

Roasted Red Pepper Tortellini Soup

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Nothing is more comforting than a warm bowl of soup on a cold evening and this satisfying soup from willcookforsmiles.com has become a favorite in my family. It is rich, tasty and just oh so good. Plus it is easy and allows me to use my all time favorite kitchen appliance–the stick blender!

You can buy red peppers already roasted in most grocery stores but I think they taste better when you roast them yourself. The process is quite easy and produces better results. Sometimes, however, it can be tricky to remove the skins. My solution is to seal the hot peppers in a plastic bag for a few minutes once they come out of the oven. The steam will help further loosen the skins and once you open the bag they will pop right off. Be sure to use fresh tortellini for the soup; cheese filled ones are good but I also like to use spinach on occasion. And the parmesan cheese? Also delicious but for an added kick try Asagio. Yum!

ROASTED RED PEPPER TORTELLINI SOUP

4 large red bell peppers

6 large garlic cloves

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 medium yellow onion

1 large carrot

3 cups of vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced

3/4 teaspoon cumin

Salt to taste

Fresh cracked pepper to taste

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (more for topping)

12 ounces fresh three cheese tortellini

  • Preheat the oven to 400.
  • Cut the peppers in half and remove their core and seeds.
  • Place the peppers on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  • Leave the skins on the garlic cloves but cut off just their tips. Wrap the cloves in aluminum foil and place on the baking sheet along side the peppers.
  • Bake the peppers and garlic for 20 minutes and then flip peppers over and continue roasting for an additional 10 minutes.
  • At this point remove the garlic packet from the oven but allow the peppers roast for additional 10-15 minutes.
  • Dice the onion and carrot and set aside. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel and chop them then set aside. Skin the roasted garlic, set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot set over medium heat.
  • Add the onion onion and carrot to the pot and saute for a 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add chopped roasted peppers and roasted garlic to the pot and saute for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Add the vegetable stock to the pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat back to medium.
  • Stir in the thyme, cumin, salt and pepper.
  • Cook, covered, for about 15 minutes.
  • Blend soup well, using an immersion blender, until all smooth.
  • Add the heavy cream and grated Parmesan cheese and stir until all incorporated.
  • Add tortellini and make sure it’s completely covered in soup. Cover pot with a lid and cook for 10-12 minutes, until tortellini is done.
  • Divide the soup amongst four warmed bowls and top with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

Serves 4

 

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Turkey Cutlets w/ Red Pepper Cream

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When we were working at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania, we were fortunate enough to have an on site cafeteria that provided a variety of lunch options at reasonable prices. The food wasn’t always great but it was convenient and after eating there enough you quickly learned which dishes were better than others. The cooks loved to serve overcooked meats “enscalope” as they called it and we learned that this essentially meant meat covered in some sort of cream sauce. A favorite of Glenn’s was chicken filets covered in a pepper cream sauce. He took to ordering it so frequently, even when it wasn’t on the menu, that the kitchen staff began calling it “the Glenn”.

We’ve since left Albania but when my husband mentioned “the Glenn” I decided to recreate the dish here in Belgium. In an attempt to make my dish taste as authentic as possible, I used avjar as my red pepper base. Avjar is to the Balkans what ketchup is to Americans; it is essentially slathered on everything, eaten as a dip, condiment for meats or spread on sandwiches. The ingredients vary by region but the one I am most familiar with includes roasted red peppers and eggplant. It is actually quite easy to make but if you don’t want to make your own, you can find it in the ethic food section of your grocery store. I also substituted turkey breasts for the chicken but you could also use boneless pork chops or even a firm white fish.

Turkey Cutlets w/ Red Pepper Cream

4 thin turkey cutlets

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/4 cup red onion, minced

1 1/2 cups avjar

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons mascarpone

  • Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium high heat.
  • Season the turkey cutlets on both sides with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Place the turkey in the skillet and cook until it is lightly browned, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the meat over and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the remaining oil to the skillet. When the oil is shimmering, reduce the heat to medium and add the onions. Saute until fragrant and lightly brown, 3-4 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the avjar. Stirring constantly cook until the sauce is heated through.
  • Stir in the cream and mascarpone and heat until the cheese has melted and the mixture is hot.
  • Return the turkey to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Serve the cutlets with the sauce on top.

Serves 4

Spicy Black Bean Soup

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

The recipe, adapted from the Splendid Table, is the ultimate in fast since it literally cooks in minutes.  I like my food with a bit of heat but if you think it will be too spicy for your taste you can use less Tabasco and cumin.  While the soup cooks you can make the avocado, cucumber, and orange salsa, which when paired with a dollop of sour cream tempers the heat of the soup.  Don’t skip this addition; this simple salsa takes the soup from good to unbelievable.

SPICY BLACK BEAN SOUP

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups vegetable broth

2 – 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed

1 cup roasted red peppers, diced

1 – 15 ounce can corn

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

1 avocado, cubed

Juice of 1 lime

1 orange, peeled and chopped

1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup sour cream

  • Heat the oil in a large pot set over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the broth, beans, corn, red peppers, seasonings, and hot sauce and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  • While the soup is simmering, combine the avocado, lime juice, orange, and cucumber in a small bowl. Toss well.
  • Serve the soup in bowls topped with the avocado and orange mixture and top with a dollop of sour cream.

Serves 4

Pork & Pepper Stir Fry

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Stir fries are one of my favorite dinners.  Not only are they quick but you can adapt the recipe to accommodate whatever ingredients you have on hand.  I prefer to use raw meat but if you have leftover cooked meat from a previous meal you can use that instead.  Just add the meat at the last minute and cook until heated through.  Because stir fries cook quickly and taste best when served immediately, have all of your ingredients prepared and ready to cook before beginning.  I like to mix up the sauce ahead of time so it is ready to go as well.

Serve the stir fry over a bed of rice (I prefer brown) and you have an entire meal in one dish.  It really doesn’t get any easier than this.

PORK & RED PEPPER STIR FRY

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup Chinese rice wine

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons corn starch

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 large red onion, thinly slice

1 bunch garlic shoots, cut into one-inch pieces

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

2 large red peppers, thinly sliced

3/4 pound boneless pork, cut into bite sized pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Combine the soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, and honey in a small bowl.  Whisk in the corn starch and stir until the mixture is smooth.  Set aside.
  • Heat the sesame oil in a wok set over high heat.  When the oil begins to smoke add the red onion, garlic shoots, and ginger.  Toss and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the red peppers and cook for an additional minute then add the pork and cook for an additional 2 minutes, tossing regularly.
  • Push the mixture to the sides of the wok.  Add the sauce and stir continually until it begins to thicken.  Return the vegetables and pork to the bottom of the wok and stir to coat.  Cook an additional 1-2 minutes until the pork is cooked through.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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