Sausage and Red Pepper Soup

Ingredients
  • Roux:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • kosher salt and and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Soup:
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage or links
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 red or yellow bell peppers, seeds removed, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato puree
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 oz. velveeta, cubed
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preparation
  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour once butter has melted, whisking to create roux.
  2. Let roux cook, while stirring continuously, for 2-3 minutes, or until golden, then continue to whisk and pour in milk and heavy cream.
  3. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until mixture thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
  5. In a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat, season sausage generously with salt and pepper and brown until no longer pink, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. (If using links, brown them, then slice into bite-sized pieces.)
  6. Discard all but 2 tablespoons fat, then sauté onion and bell peppers for 10-12 minutes, or until softened and translucent.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes, then add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  8. Return cooked sausage to pan, add tomato paste and stir into veggie mixture, then add tomato puree and diced tomatoes.
  9. Pour in chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  10. Stir in roux, then cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until warmed through.
  11. Add cream cheese, velveeta and parmesan to soup, stirring until melted and incorporated. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
  12. Transfer to serving bowls and serve hot. Enjoy!

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