Sweet Red Pepper Couscous Soup
First and foremost- let me wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the holidays and the fine foods that go with them... but if like me, you are feeling like you can start cutting back on the excess and begin to enjoy lighter and healthier fare... you may want to consider something like my simple supper this evening- you just might like it!
Just because it is healthy, doesn't mean your food can't be tasty- and just because it isn't exotically spiced, doesn't mean it has to taste dreary and bland. Sometimes it is nice to just coax the natural flavors out of your ingredients, to keep things simple and to let nature do all of the hard work... whilst you take it easy and simply enjoy!
I started off by preparing a flavor base for my soup out of finely chopped celeriac (or celery root), carrot, onion, parsley and garlic. You can substitute the celeriac by using regular celery of course... I just felt like a change this evening ;-)
Once the onion had become translucent and the flavors of the base ingredients were nicely blended, I added the finely chopped red pepper- which was in this case one of those long, pointed variety which arrive here in Europe from Turkey. If you can't get the pointy peppers, of course a regular bell pepper will do just fine!
As soon as the peppers were hot, I added a little honey, salt, pepper, a squeeze of tomato paste and a little lime juice. I stirred everything together well and when the pan began to seem a little too dry for comfort, added a little splash of orange juice to deglaze it, followed by enough boiling water to cover the vegetables. I let simmer for 5 minutes until they were cooked but still firm, then added a little cayenne to add a little "edge" to the whole affair :-)
I then added the couscous, stirred it in and let it absorb all of the water in the pan, then added enough again to "let it swim" a little- just covering everything slightly, so that it could simmer on for a further 5-6 minutes. Once the couscous was fluffy and the vegetables were soft, all it needed was a drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of parsley... and supper was served! So we are off to a light start this year... but fear not- for many treats lie in store- and most of them as healthy and yummy as this one so you can enjoy them all as guilt-free as I do!