Friday, October 6, 2017

Red Pepper, White Bean, and Feta Soup - an accidental recipe

Sometimes recipes happen by accident. Such is the case of this Red Pepper, White Bean, and Feta Soup.

Doug and I were invited to our friend's home for dinner, so I offered to bring an appetizer dip. I searched my refrigerator and pantry to make use of what I had on hand - plain yogurt and crumbled feta in the refrigerator; a jar of roasted red peppers, a ton of canned white beans (hurricane provisions, you see) in the pantry. I figured if I swirled these together in the food processor with some spices, I’d have a dandy dip.

I got to work immediately because I wanted to make this early enough for the flavors to combine.
Red Pepper, White Bean, and Feta Dip
Here's what I did:
Red Pepper, White Bean, and Feta Dip
Ingredients:
1 - 15-oz can roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
1 medium clove garlic, mashed
1 - 15-oz can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup plain Greek-style yogurt
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Directions:
I placed all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and processed until well-combined.

After I did this, I tasted it, placed the mixture a serving bowl, covered it, and set it in the frig for a few hours. I checked the flavors again and decided it was okay, but not good enough to share with our friends. 

Not one to discard perfectly good food, I decided to turn the dip into a soup. 
Red Pepper, White Bean, and Feta Soup
To do this, I added 3 cups of chicken broth (Note: Use more broth if you prefer a thinner soup, and vegetable broth may be substituted), 1 tsp. lower-sodium Better Than Bouillon (chicken based), and a dash of Aleppo pepper. I used an immersion blender to combine the ingredients, then gently heated it through. 
I sprinkled some crushed pita chips to garnish.

I'm happy to say, this dip recipe was much better as soup! Next time I'll omit the Feta as part of the soup base, but would use it as garnish.

What appetizer did I end up making?

Well, I actually made 2 - and - our hosts were pleased with both!
 Mexican-Inspired Cheese Dip with Tortilla chips (L);  Artichoke-Olive Tapenade with Pita chips (R)
#1. Mexican-Inspired Cheese Dip

4 oz. shredded Monterey Jack/Colby cheese combo.
4 oz. cream cheese
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
¼ cup finely chopped onion
Olive oil
½ tsp. Kosher salt
3 Tbsp. water mixed with 1/2 tsp. chicken ‘Better Than Broth’
a few splashes of Cholula (chipotle) Hot Sauce, optional

Directions:
Sauté tomato, jalapeño, and onion in olive oil until onion and pepper are soft. Add water mixture; bring to boil.
Reduce heat; add cheeses, stirring constantly until melted. Stir in chipotle hot sauce, if using, just before serving.
Place in a serving bowl and serve immediately with tortilla chips.

NOTE: I had to refrigerate the cheese dip in a microwave-safe bowl until it was time to leave. Once we got to our friend’s house, I microwaved the cheese dip for 1 ½ minutes at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds. It worked out great!

#2. Artichoke and Olive Tapenade
More pantry items were found for this. 
1 can black pitted olives (drained), 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts (drained), a few pitted Kalamata olives (for good measure), a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil.

I whirled it in the food processor and placed it in a serving bowl. Served this with pita chips.



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