The other day John and I decided we wanted our awesome tomato rice soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, so we pulled out the first-ever jar of home-canned tomato sauce.
Using our own canned tomato was a little nerve-racking! I mean, nobody wants botulism in this day and age (or, you know, in any day and age). But all my jars looked good, smelled fine, and presented no issues whatsoever, so I ventured forth and did meet with victory upon the field of battle. It wasn't even St. Crispian's Day or anything!
To open home-canned jars, use the flat side of a standard bottle opener. Hook the broad edge over the top of the lid, and the little punched-out edge under the lip of the jar. Press down on the top of the opener with your thumb as you pull the lever arm upward. The lid will come right off with a nice pop. Voila!
Yeah, you guys probably know this, but it never hurts to have more info, right? Especially considering the lack of general cooking & food preservation knowledge in American culture over the past 40 years.
Anyway. This soup is more than the sum of its parts. I blame the butter and the brandy.
Brandy butter rice soup
garlic (&/or onion, shallot, etc.)
tomato puree or sauce
raw long grain rice
salt, pepper, basil
fresh parsley &/or other garnish of your choice
Melt a large chunk of butter in a reasonable soup pot. You can cut it with olive oil (or replace it entirely) if you so choose.
Smash and peel a good eight or ten cloves of garlic. I like to leave mine in large chunks, but it would also be fine to mince them. When your butter is melted, add the garlic to the pot. Cover, turn the heat to low, and cook slowly for about ten or fifteen minutes. This long slow poach will essentially give you garlic-infused butter, which is of course well worth pursuing.
When your garlic is all tender and lovely, add your tomato to the pot. I used a full jar of our summer tomato sauce; you can use whatever form of tomato is available to you. Season with salt, pepper, and basil. I want to experiment with other herbs in the future.
Turn the heat up to medium and simmer for about five minutes. Now it's time to add your rice. Since the rice needs to cook in the soup, you'll need to add some vegetable broth as well. So. Add about half a cup of rice, plus a cup or more of vegetable broth, according to how thick you like your soup. Add in a good shot of brandy as well. Bring the pot to a boil, turn down the heat, cover, and simmer until the rice is cooked through. The time will vary based on the type of rice you're using. I think mine took about fifteen minutes from zero to tender.
When your rice is cooked, your soup is essentially ready. If the soup is too thin for your liking, take off the lid and boil it down a little longer; if it's too thick, add a little more vegetable broth. Taste and correct any seasonings, and you are done.
Eat your soup with chopped parsley, chervil, or whatever other herb sounds good to you. Some sour cream or plain yogurt would be nice too.
Since this is tomato soup, a grilled cheese sandwich is the obvious companion choice. Toast or biscuits would work too. Otherwise, a white bean vinaigrette could provide a good contrast in texture & acidity.