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Monday, March 26, 2012

Romanian(or not) Stuffed Pepper Soup

Romanian(or not) Stuffed Pepper Soup... I made this dish some time ago. Just haven't had the time to post it. Actually it's been sitting in my draft since December of last year. I first made this dish during the busy holiday season. But in actuality, the recipe had been on my mind for longer than that... ever since I noticed Alina from Explora Cuisine post it on her own blog. I loved the idea of a stuffed pepper soup... just never heard of it before.

So when my parents were visiting for the holidays, I thought it would be perfect to make the soup with my mom. The soup would be new to all of us... both my dad and mom had never tried or heard of this type of soup before either. I told my parents that I had seen the recipe on another blog... and that the soup was supposed to be from another part of Romania... different from where my parents grew up. Now, I don't know if stuffed pepper soup is served in other parts of Romania...I personally never had it/never heard of it.... but that doesn't mean I know everything:). Sure, I am aware of stuffed peppers, but stuffed pepper soup? Romanian or not, the soup sounded interesting to me. Loved the idea. Knew I would eventually try it.

I'll admit I ended up making the soup my way... ended up using some turkey stock (from the Thanksgiving carcass) with some ground turkey. And because I had these mini peppers, I used those instead of the long thin peppers. I sort of went off the basic recipe for making any "soured" Romanian soup... similar to the Ciorba de Perisoare. While I used tomato paste to bring in the tomato flavor, you can opt to use fresh tomatoes or canned crushed/diced tomatoes if you prefer. My version is more brothy in nature.... and not so tomato-y.

I like to cook the stuffed peppers until they still have some bite to them... but that can be adjusted to preference. And even though I feel the sour cream is essential, you can opt to skip it. It does, however, tie everything together... makes the soup taste like stuffed peppers would. Didn't snap a picture with the sour cream topping... had the soup later on in the day and totally forgot about it:)...

The soup was well received... both my parents loved it(my dad especially so). They thought it was a wonderful variation of the Ciorba de Perisoare they are normally accustomed to. A different sort of soup... unique and tasty. And because of that, I'm finally posting the recipe. Months later. Hope you enjoy...

Note: I ended up using some dried lovage(leustan). Ended up using what I had on hand, but fresh would be much, much better.

You will need: inspired by Explora Cuisine

25 small bell peppers, or as needed

Turkey Stuffing/Meatballs:
1/3 cup short grain rice
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 lb ground turkey( you can use other meat of choice, if you prefer)
1/4 cup grated onion
1 egg lightly beaten
1 TBS chopped fresh parsley(or dill)
salt and pepper, to taste

Vegetables needed to add to stock:
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrots
1/3 cup diced celery
diced bell pepper caps

8-9 cups homemade chicken/turkey stock
4 cups water
3-4 TBS tomato paste( or you can use some tomato sauce/fresh tomatoes)

Finish off with:
chopped lovage( parsley will do in a pinch) and /or chopped chives
salt and pepper, if needed
juice of 1 lemon, or to taste

Serve with:
dollop( or 2) of sour cream,*
*optional but really good, and I think gives the soup that stuffed pepper taste

1. Wash and clean mini peppers. Cut top off, remove stem and de-seed. Set aside.
2. Place rice with water in a sauce pan. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes... or until rice absorbs most of the liquid and cooks halfway. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
3. In a bowl, add turkey meat, grated onion, egg, parsley, salt and pepper.... then add the semi-cooked rice. Mix completely until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
4. Chop vegetables needed for the stock, along with the pepper caps. Set aside.
5. Stuff each mini pepper with the meat mixture. If you have leftover meat, just form it into small meatballs.
6. In a large stock pot, add chicken stock and water.... bring to a boil. Add tomato paste and lower heat to medium.
7. Add the chopped vegetables and stuffed peppers... along with any meatballs that you may have.
8. Cook for 20-30 minutes( the stuffed peppers will bob up) or until meat is cooked through and peppers are somewhat al-dente. If you like your peppers cooked till soft... just cook longer.
9. Finish the soup by adding the fresh herbs of choice, and lemon juice. Adjust seasoning.
10. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream.


Romfoody said...

Looks like a great recipe. Whenever I've had stuffed peppers I've always lapped up the juice at the bottom of the bowl so it makes complete sense to me to make more of it and call it a soup!

Ellie said...

Romfoody, Yes, I agree... whoever came up with the idea of adding a bit more broth to the stuffed peppers was genius:)!
Thanks for stopping by...

Mihaela said...

Ellie, in Oltenia, where I'm from, we don't make stuffed pepper soup, but I'm thinking to give it a try, specially that I've seen in the store little cute peppers :) Thanks for the inspiration!

Ellie said...

Mihaela, I have a feeling the stuffed pepper soup was invented by someone who accidently added too much liquid ... and called it soup:). A great idea nonetheless... The smaller peppers make for a nice presentation. Definitely something different from the regular meatball soup.. If you try it, I hope you enjoy it:)

Haseena said...

This is a great recipe! I made it last week, once the store had mini colorful peppers in stock. Your picture looked so pretty, not to mention delicious, that I had to try it... I sort of combined your recipe with the way I'd learned to make meatball ciorba, plus exchanged the lemon and sour cream for a packet of "bors cu smantana." I loved it, my husband ate it every day for the week, and the kids had the soup with the little meatballs that were left over from the peppers. Thanks for the inspiration!

Ellie said...

Haseena, Oh, that's just wonderful! You simply made my day:)! Thanks you so much for taking the time to let me know how the soup went for you.
I'm thrilled that the whole family enjoyed it. I couldn't ask for more. Loved how you took the idea and made it your own. That's the best way to do it:)...
The packet of "bors cu samantana" sounds like it was made for this type of soup:).
So glad I could be of inspiration you. Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your feedback. I so appreciate it!

Mihaela said...

Thank you for yet another wonderful recipe. In Teleorman where my grandparents lived they made a variation of this soup. They used to hang peppers to dry for winter and then use them for stuffed pepper soup. They called it " ciorba de raci" and I don't know why "raci" maybe because the peppers were red. I never had them filled with meat though. They filled them with a flour paste, dumpling consistency, and it was the best ever. Thank's again.

Ellie said...

Hi Mihaela, Your grandparents' version of the stuffed bell pepper soup sounds wonderful! I'm glad to know that there are other variations ... and even a non meat one. I've thought of making a rice only version, but a dumpling sounds rather unique. Ah, sometimes old recipes are simply the best:)!
Thanks so much for sharing. It was good to find out that a variation of this stuffed pepper recipe exists in Romania. I'm glad you stopped by:)