It's hot! Let's have more soup! ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

09 July 2008

It's hot! Let's have more soup!

Being sick means never having to say it's too hot out to have soup. Er, yes. I needed to shovel nutrients into my system without killing my throat, though, so I made this tomato rice business. It turned out rich and serious, yet homey and vegetabley, for an efficient nutrient shovel.

It's really hard to just call this "tomato rice soup" because I've had so many bad or boring tomato rice soups. This soup was emphatically neither bad nor boring. It was the antithesis of boring. So instead it can be

Fascinating tomato rice soup

half a yellow onion
six or eight cloves of garlic
an inch-thick chunk of butter (or olive oil)
crushed tomatoes with basil
also diced tomatoes in juice
water or broth
long grain brown rice
a couple splashes of bourbon
salt, pepper

Melt the butter in a heavy, deep pan over low heat. I assume olive oil will work fine, but I didn't try it, and so I cannot guarantee that it will provide the same degree of awesomeness in the results. Sometime I will do an experiment.

Dice the onion; smash the garlic with the flat of a knife and peel off the skin. Throw the chopped onion and whole garlic cloves into the melted butter/warmed oil. Put the lid on the pan and cook slowly for about twenty minutes. You are braising them in butter. This process is clearly key to the awesomeness of said soup.

When onions and garlic are soft and nice, break out the tomatoes. You can probably use whatever form of tomato is hanging around, as long as it comes to about a cup and a half total. I had the end of one can, plus the beginning of a second can. Use good tomatoes, you guys. Mine were organic, which was clearly a plus: they tasted sweet, as tomatoes generally do when real. Skinned, chopped summer tomatoes (and their juice!) would be ideal.

Throw your tomatoes into the pot. Add a couple big splashes of bourbon (maybe half a shot) and a cup or so of water, then bring everything to a boil. Brandy would also be really good here: brandy, butter and tomato clearly win. Cover and simmer for another ten minutes, or until the tomatoes break down.

If you want a smooth soup, now is the time to take the pot off the heat and break out the immersion blender. Puree until the soup is your preferred texture.

You could stop at this point, salt and pepper, and proceed to eat some excellent tomato soup. I wanted rice in mine, so I added another cup of water and half a cup of rice, then covered the pot and put it back to simmer for another half hour. This definitely seems like it's going to take forever, and why bother when you could just add leftover rice, but it's really important to cook the rice in the soup! That way it soaks up all the deliciousness in the soup instead of just soaking up plain water in the rice cooker. The rice will be 100 times better if you cook it in the actual soup. You CAN use leftover rice, but it just won't be as good.

Simmer until rice is done. You're done. Put it in a bowl and throw some fresh parsley or basil on it. Drink it all with a grilled cheese sandwich, or at least some toast.

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