A little chilly weather won’t stand a chance against this spicy soup. Instead of eating pickled banana peppers only on sandwiches, pizza slices, or salads, mix them into this soup for a mild, tangy, and slightly sweet flavor. We love this recipe because it’s a complete departure from typical chicken soup, and chicken soup is obviously much better and tastier when it doesn’t come out of the can. Here, we combine pickled banana peppers and veggies with tender chicken, crispy bacon, and fluffy white rice for a tasty and warm soup that finishes quite deliciously in the slow cooker. Fully cooked smoked chicken from a local barbecue joint, refrigerated prechopped veggie mix, and boil-in-bag rice help to cut down on prep time. But you can also substitute shredded barbecue pork without the sauce in place of chicken. Just make sure you don’t throw away the bacon fat left in the skillet, as you’ll use it to toss the vegetables until they’re tender. This smoky banana pepper soup is sure to warm your heart and stomach. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread or croutons sprinkled on top, and you're all set!
4 bacon slices
1 (8-oz.) container refrigerated prechopped celery, onion, and bell pepper mix
6 cups low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
2 cups sliced pickled banana peppers
2 tablespoons juice from banana peppers
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 pound shredded smoked chicken from barbecue joint (without sauce)
1 (3.5-oz.) bag bag boil-in-bag white rice
Garnish: fresh oregano leaves
How to Make It
Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Coarsely crumble bacon.
Add celery mixture to drippings in skillet; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until tender. Add chicken broth, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Transfer broth mixture to a 5-quart slow cooker. Stir in bacon, peppers, and next 7 ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours. Stir in rice. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until rice is tender. Garnish, if desired.
Smoked Pork-Banana Pepper Soup: Substitute 1 lb. shredded barbecued pork (without sauce) for smoked chicken. Prepare recipe as directed.