Saturday, March 13, 2010

Get Yer Goat (Cheese That Is)

Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese Soup With Tuna and White Bean Melts

My best roommate ever, Erin, was unfortunately lactose-intolerant. I say "unfortunately" because while we enjoyed cooking dinners together, my recipes tend toward embracing dairy in its many varied and delicious forms. The exception to Erin's anti-dairy issues was goat cheese. She figured out all kinds of ways to substitute my traditional bovine dairy ingredients with goat alternatives. She taught me this soup recipe and it quickly became a regular in our dinner rotation. The creamy goat cheese with the bright, tangy bell peppers makes for a velvety-textured vegetarian meal. I came up with this riff on a tuna melt to make for a heartier dinner. The ease of the meal comes from a 12 oz. jar of prepared marinated giant white beans (thanks Trader Joe's). If these are not available, make a similar taste by combining a can of Cannellini beans with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1/4 c. diced sun dried tomatoes. I hope you like it!


- 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and diced
- 1 large orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 sweet yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 4 c. vegetable stock
- 7-8 oz. goat cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 12. oz. jar Giant White Beans in tomato sauce (find it at Trader Joe's)
- 1 5-6 oz. can albacore tuna packed in olive oil, drained
- 1 ciabatta loaf, sliced length wise
- 1 generous handful chopped Italian parsley
- 3 c. grated Ibirico cheese (if unavailable go for Provolone)

In a large stock pot, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium. Add chopped onion and cook until it begins to soften and turn translucent (about 3 minutes). Add chopped bell peppers, apple, and carrot and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock to soup, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Line a cookie sheet with foil and place ciabatta halves on top. In a medium bowl, combine tuna, chopped parsley, and white beans. Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper. Spread tuna and bean mixture evenly on bread. Sprinkle grated cheese evenly on top of tuna mixture. Put in oven and broil until cheese is melted and begins to brown on top. Remove from oven and slice.

After soup has simmered, remove from heat. Working in batches blend in blender (or use your handy immersion blender) until soup is smooth. Add goat cheese to soup and stir in until melted and soup is creamy. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tuna and bean melts for dipping.

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