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Fresh peppers, hot and spicy, sweet and crunchy, are the ultimate quick-change artists. I roast poblanos and jalapenos for Mexican-style rajas, puree red and orange bells into soups and sauces, dice green bells and Anaheims for omelets and gingerly tuck habaneros into salsa.

I didn’t know stuffed-pepper soup was a thing until I encountered it at a restaurant in Indiana. Turns out, plenty of versions populate the internet. I float tiny flavor-packed meatballs of beef and Italian sausage in the chunky soup bolstered by basmati rice. Shower each serving with fresh herbs, and you will be happy.

Stuffed Pepper Meatball Soup

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Meatballs

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 pound uncooked mild Italian sausage, removed from casing

1 large egg

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Soup

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, chopped

1/2 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, chopped

1 carrot, peeled, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 quart (32 ounces) chicken broth

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 to 11/2 cups cooked rice

1 can (14 ounces) white beans, drained

Chopped fresh basil, parsley

and chives

For meatballs, put meats, egg, crumbs, parsley, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Gently mix together with your hands. Shape into small meatballs, each about 1 to 11/2 inches in diameter.

Heat a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Working in batches, add meatballs in a single uncrowded layer. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove with tongs to a plate. Repeat to cook all the meatballs.

For soup, without washing the pan, add the onion to the meatball drippings in the pot. Cook and stir to scrape up browned bits, about 3 minutes. Stir in bell peppers and carrot; cook and stir, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook 2 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes, seasoning and salt. Simmer, partly covered, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.

Stir meatballs, rice and beans into the soup. Simmer until everything is heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve garnished with fresh herbs.

— Nutrition information per serving: 285 calories, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 69 mg cholesterol, 31 g carbohydrates, 7 g sugar, 22 g protein, 869 mg sodium, 5 g fiber

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