Monday, September 19, 2016
(Un)Stuffed banana pepper soup
Here in the Buffalo area we have stuffed banana peppers on the menu at almost every pizza place, Italian type restaurant, or bar/pub in the area. I'm not sure if they are a local thing or what, but a Google search has led me to think that they aren't something that is very popular outside of the region. Basically, they are hot banana peppers stuffed with cheeses, Italian seasonings, sometimes sausage/pork, and the topped with breadcrumbs and baked til bubbly. They are delicious. Some places even have pizza versions and macaroni and cheese versions (I think I see both of these in the blog's future). But, this time around, I decided to take the flavors of these stuffed banana peppers and turn them into a thick and hearty soup. I used ground pork in this version, but you could use bulk Italian sausage, or just add a few more peppers and leave the meat out all together.
Even though summer is holding on tight around here, I'm so ready for fall temperatures, fall foods, and everything else that comes along with my favorite season. Soup is one of my favorite things to make and eat when the weather turns cooler (though I've been know to make soup in the summer, too). This soup will serve about 4 people as a main dish with a side of warmed crusty bread and butter.
(Un)Stuffed banana pepper soup
1 lb ground pork
1 large sweet onion, chopped
7 medium/large banana peppers (I used a mix of sweet and hot), seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, plus more for serving
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup milk
8 oz cream cheese, softened and cubed
1 cup shredded mozzarella, for topping
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs, for topping
In a soup pot or Dutch oven, cook the pork over medium heat, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned and cooked through. Drain the fat, leaving about two teaspoons. Add the onion, peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables become just tender. Stir in the flour and cook for about one minute.
Stir in the chicken stock/broth and milk. Let the mixture come to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook and stir often until the mixture thickens.
Stir in the cream cheese until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Preheat the broiler.
For each serving, fill a small crock or other broiler-proof serving bowl. Top each with 1/4 cup mozzarella and a tablespoon of breadcrumbs. Broil until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs just turn golden (watch carefully so they don't burn). Top each bowl with an extra sprinkle of Italian seasoning. Serve hot with crusty bread.
What was I cooking one year ago?: pumpkin streusel muffins
Two years ago?: chicken & apple Indian curry
Three years ago?: Hungarian mushroom soup
Four?: Salisbury steak w/ red wine-mushroom sauce
Five?: buckwheat pancakes
6?: chicken, apple, caramelized onion, & cheese quesadillas