Thursday, October 21, 2010

Italian Style Hearty Vegetable Stoup

Yes, "stoup."
Yes, I stole that from Rachael Ray. 
But it's totally applicable here--this is somewhere between stew and soup. Stoup.

Ok, now that we've got that cleared up, on to the recipe. 
This deliciously filling meal was created out of my need to use up an eggplant, 
my longing for a bowl of warm soup, 
Kevin's request for "something with rice," 
and my natural Italian inklings. 

Feel free to substitute any vegetables YOU need to use up for the ones I include here. 
Yes, Mom, you can deviate from the recipe--it's ok! :)

Serves 6-8
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 large carrots, washed (no need to peel!) and thinnly sliced
2 celery stalks, washed and sliced
1 green pepper, diced
1 medium eggplant, cubed 
2 tsp Italian seasoning
a sprinkling of crushed red pepper
1-2 tsp chili powder
1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1-15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato or pasta sauce
3 cups beef (or other) broth 
2 cups brown rice, cooked
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

Heat a 6 qt stock pot over medium heat. Drizzle with oil. Drop in garlic, onions, carrots, celery and peppers. Reduce heat to low/medium-low and cook until carrots are softened. Be careful not to have the burner too hot--the garlic will burn. In a separate large skillet, heat a drizzle of oil. Saute eggplant until softened and browned (OR cook in a 375 degree preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.)
Stir eggplant in with the other vegetables in the stock pot. Stir in seasonings. Add crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes--combine thoroughly. Stir in beef broth and tomato sauce. Simmer on low for 20-45 minutes until fragrant and tasty. Stir in brown rice. Serve with a garnish of parmesan cheese. 

For reheating purposes: This soup will thicken significantly due to the rice. You will likely need to add a splash or two or three of water to the bowl of soup before heating.

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