It's Soup Season!

I love when the leaves start to turn and the air is brisk (or "fresh" as my father-in-law likes to say).  It means I can start making, and more importantly, start eating, soup again!  I made my first soup of the season last week, and I wanted to share.  It was a delicious roasted tomato and red pepper soup with meatballs.  It was so flavourful and so simple to make.  The vegetables were roasted, which caramelizes the natural sugars found in the vegetables and gives them a great flavour.  And the balsamic vinegar added just the right pop of flavour.  I served my soup with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top.  Enjoy!

Adapted from "The Looneyspoons Collection" by Janet & Greta Podleski.

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Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup with Meatballs

Soup

  • 8 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large red peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp each fresh thyme and fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 cups sodium-reduced beef broth, divided
  • 1 cup sodium-reduced V8 juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt, freshly ground black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes

Note: You can use dried herbs instead of fresh.  Dried herbs are more potent than fresh herbs so use a 1 to 3 ratio of dry to fresh herbs -- 1 tsp. dry herbs equals 1 tbsp. fresh herbs.

Meatballs

  • 340 g extra-lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry, unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. each salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450oF.  In a large roasting pan, add tomatoes, red peppers, red onion, garlic, olive oil, thyme, and rosemary.  Stir.  Try to arrange vegetables in a single layer.
  2. Place roasting pan in oven on middle rack and roast vegetables for 15 minutes.  Remove vegetables from oven and stir.  Return pan to oven on middle rack and turn oven to broil. Broil vegetables for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare meatballs.  Combine all meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Using your hands, form 20 - 30 meatballs (approximately 1 tbsp of meat mixture per ball). Set aside.
  4. Remove vegetables from oven.  Transfer half the vegetables to a blender or food processor,  (I transferred half the vegetables to my large soup pot and used my immersion blender; less dishes to wash!) along with 1 cup beef broth and blend until smooth.  Transfer pureed vegetables to a large pot.  
  5. Chop remaining vegetables into bite-size pieces and add to pot, along with remaining beef broth, V8 juice, basil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.  Bring soup to a boil.
  6. Add meatballs.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 7 - 8 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through.  Add more salt and pepper, if desired.  

NOTE: If your soup is too acidic, you can add a pinch of sugar.  Sugar will not neutralize the acid, but it will help to balance the flavours.