Weeknight cooking is tough, even for someone like me who lives to cook. Between work, study, fitness, chores, walking dogs, and babysitting my newborn niece (I’m an uncle!!!!), it’s not always possible to carve out more than an hour to cook, eat and clean the dishes. That last bit’s a lie. Over the years, I have developed a serious aversion to washing dishes and prefer to leave them to my amazing wife. All the more reason to make something using a single pot or pan. After all, less clean up time for wifey equals more time for Netflix and chill 😉
So, when it came time for a Tuesday night supper, I reached for what I had in the fridge, freezer and pantry. I had a few sausages, a couple of red bell peppers, and some frozen stock that I made a few weeks ago. First instinct was to make a sausage and pepper skillet, possibly similar to this one here but I didn’t have any greens. Then again, there was always soup. Yeah, soup! It was a cold and rainy day in the beginning of March, which made all the more sense. The trick would be to roast the peppers without having to schlep outside and light the grill. Enter oven broiler (man alive, I miss my gas range)! Broiling the peppers would add a tremendous amount of flavour and also help peel of the skin, which isn’t all that pleasant in a silky smooth soup. It also makes for a great photo-op (see image of charred, blistered, Georgia O’keeffe-like peppers).
While the peppers charred under a hot broiler, I got to work by removing the sausages from their casings, and browning them in my favourite Staub Dutch Oven. Once nice and crumbly, I removed the sausage and sautéed a diced onion and some garlic, followed by a bit of tomato purée for added flavour and colour. I let the tomato sauce reduce and concentrate in flavour before adding the stock (I used chicken but vegetable works too) and bringing everything to a low simmer. Meanwhile, I peeled the charred peppers, deseeded them and added them to the soup. Using my immersion blender, which is possibly my new favourite kitchen gadget, I gave the whole thing a whirl until smooth, added back the sausage and tasted for seasoning. The sausage was salty enough but lacked spice. Sure, I could go in with a few chili flakes but where’s the fun in that? Harissa would be a welcome addition, I thought! Two tablespoons later, I realized it was a good idea! Granted, my mouth was on fire. A bit of fresh oregano helped wake everything up and garnishing it with avocado, tomato and cucumber would help me use some more stuff that might otherwise go rotten.
Altogether, a successful weeknight supper, made in about 30 minutes with minimal clean up! We went on to watch 15 minutes of Suits before I fell asleep and drooled all over my pillow.
Note: this would work equally well as a fully vegan soup. Skip the sausage and go straight to sautéing the onions and garlic. As mentioned, opt for vegetable stock instead of chicken and you’re all set!
Give this recipe a go and let me know what you think in the comments below!
Paleo Roasted Red Pepper and Sausage Soup
4 Whole30-compliant sausages (read labels or sub ground chicken, turkey, pork, beef, or lamb)
4 red bell peppers
1 cup tomato purée (preferably in a glass jar)
1 pint chicken or vegetable stock
1 medium onion – diced
3-4 cloves garlic – minced
1-2 teaspoons fresh oregano – finely chopped (or substitute dried)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Whole30-compliant harissa (spicy Tunisian red pepper paste) – optional and to taste
Garnish of choice (I like avocado, tomato and cucumber)
- Blacken red peppers under a broiler, on top of a gas stove or on a grill (approximately 3-4 minutes per side). Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap – set aside.
- Remove sausage from casing and brown in a large Dutch Oven or stock pot. Transfer cooked sausage to a bowl and sauté onion and garlic in the rendered fat until soft. Add tomato purée and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly reduced and concentrated.
- Add stock and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, remove skin and seeds from roasted peppers. Roughly chop the peppers and add them to the soup. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth.
- Add sausage and oregano to the soup and taste for seasoning – adjust salt and pepper accordingly. Add harissa or spices of choice.
- Ladle into individual serving bowls, garnish with avocado, diced cucumbers and tomatoes and enjoy!