Last night I found myself in my o-so-usual dilemma of not having much in the house when it was time to make dinner. I was away for the weekend and cleaned out my fridge, and had not gone grocery shopping yet! As I walked up the back steps to the kitchen door I was running through all sorts of possibilities in my head, when, I was greeted by a little gift hanging on my door handle. It was a bag of long green peppers. This happens to me quite a bit. My friends around here are very aware that the Crappy Kitchen is in full swing every evening, and what better place to drop of surplus veggies and meat than at my doorstep! Who was the mystery bestower?
The friend who saved the day and inspired dinner was none other than Tom! I have not seen him since he got back from his big trip to foreign lands, and we keep missing each other. There were so many peppers in the bag, my new thought was how to use some of them up. Thinking about green peppers made me think about white sauces, and then I began to think about gumbo-style foods? However, I did not want to make a gumbo as I was not in the mood for tomatoes, and, for that matter, a roux-based sauce.
I took everything I could scrounge up and laid it on the counter top. I had 1 shallot, 1/2 a squash, 1 red pepper, Tom’s green peppers, a little frozen corn and frozen shrimp. I ended up making a lovely soup and rounded it out with mounds of rice just before I served it. It was glorious, and I was so happy to have made something new to add to my ever-growing list of “meals made from scraps”
You will need: 1 lb shrimp, shelled, deveined and sliced in half lengthways (I used the 31-40 count per lb size), 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1 large shallot, diced, 1 clove garlic, finely chopped, 2 sm/med potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice (I used a yellow potato, but white or red work just as well), 1/2 yellow squash, sliced and cut into small dice, 3 long skinny green peppers, diced, or 1 green pepper, small dice, 1 long red pepper, diced, or, 1/2 red pepper, small dice, 1 cup sweet corn (fresh or frozen), 4 sprigs thyme, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 5 cups chicken broth, or, 1 veggie or chicken bouillon cube with 5 cups water, 1/3 cup of heavy cream, 3/4 tsp coarse sea-salt, several grinds black pepper, 5 or so cups cooked basmati rice.
* For rice: stove-top method, use 2 1/2 cups rice and cook according to instructions. for rice-cooker method, measure 3 cups using 3 cup measure and cook according to your cooking instructions.
* If you would like to boil eggs for a garnish, do so at this time also. Cover eggs with cold water and bring to a boil. Time for 5 minutes. Take off of heat and let it sit for 5 minutes before rinsing under cold water. Set aside and peel and slice when cool.
1 – Put medium soup pot or saucepan (3 or 4 qt) on medium heat and add the oil. Add shallot, green & red peppers to pot, and saute for 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
2 – Add diced potatoes, squash and garlic and continue to cook (stirring occasionally) for another 8 minutes, until potatoes began to soften. Add corn and herbs and cook for 5 minutes more.
3 – Add the broth (or water and bouillon cube, which is what I had on hand), salt, pepper flakes and black pepper, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down, cover, and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through.
4 – Add cream and stir into the soup. Take off heat and add 4 cups of cooked rice to pot. Stir, and if the consistency is to your liking, do not add any more rice. If not, add another cup.
Divide between bowls and offer choices of hot sauce, pepper flakes and sliced hard-boiled eggs if you like. Some fresh spinach leaves might be nice also.