Tomato soup with rice recipe

IOn dark winter days, the comfort food you’ll crave is a bowl of steamed soup.

This is a food with a long history of comfort; No less than an expert from Campbell Soup Co. traces its roots back to 20,000 B.C., the approximate date of the soup pot found in China (the pottery had burn marks on it, a sign that the soup was hot).

Recently, the aura of nutrition and comfort that soup provides during the Covid-19 pandemic has been highlighted. In the fourth quarter of 2020, Campbell’s sales were up 52 percent from the previous year, though they’ve since fallen closer to pre-pandemic levels.

Traditionally, chicken soup is considered the actual treat for everyone. But Alon Shaye thinks tomato soup, dotted with full grains of rice, scores higher on the comfort scale. The celebrity chef addressed this issue in his 2018 cookbook, Shaya, The Food Epic, My Journey to Israel: A Cookbook.

The book contains a recipe for tomato and rice soup. He wrote in the headline of the recipe: “People call chicken soup with rice ‘a Jewish grandmother’s recipe, and a cure for all that ails you.’” This vegetarian version may be more than that; It just makes you feel good.”

The recipe for tomato soup for chia comes from his grandmother Matilda Gerasi. Growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs, he’d pretend to be hot until you made it for him. “I’d stick the thermometer in the radiator and then run down and show it to her. I’d say, ‘Look, I can’t go to school, can you make me this soup?’ She also made chicken soup, ‘but that was what I was craving.'”

A vegetarian soup uses the standard ingredients you’d expect: onions, garlic, and tomatoes, which should be top-quality canned this time of year (if you live in an area with fresh, ripe ingredients, go for them).

Where his soup becomes a feat of genius is the introduction of caramelized tomato paste, which Shaya calls his secret weapon. Tablespoons of the dough are stirred together with sautéed onions and olive oil to caramelize and maximize the sweet tomato flavor.

He also threw some funky spices into the pot: Syrian Aleppo pepper flakes, which have a sharp, bright heat, and star anise. Tastes bounce in your mouth. “I always like to keep the flavors fresh; the best way to do that is with seasoning,” Shaya says. “You might not know exactly what you taste like, you just know it’s interesting.”

As a soothing final touch, there’s rice suspended in thick soup.

Shaya never served hot soup in any of his restaurants. Preferably make it for friends at home. He serves a refrigerated version at his restaurant, made with Creole tomatoes, tomato paste, and olive oil. That sounds lovely, but it’s not what you crave on a cold winter’s day.

Vegetable soup uses the standard ingredients you’d expect: onions, garlic, and tomatoes

(Kate Kreider/Bloomberg)

Tomato soup with rice

serve: from 6 to 8

ingredients:

2 cans 800g whole tomatoes, or 1.8kg very ripe tomatoes, seeded

120ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon salt

1 dried bay leaf

1 star anise

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

60 ml tomato paste

470 ml water

50g jasmine rice or long grain rice

method:

Puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor, working in batches, if necessary (if using fresh tomatoes, core and chop coarsely first).

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat.

Once warm, add onions, garlic, and salt.

Stir occasionally until the onion slices sweat and soften, but leave no color.

When the vegetables become transparent and soft, add the bay leaves, anise, sorrel and sweet pepper.

Stir everything well, and roast the spices for a minute or two until they are super fragrant.

Add the tomato paste and stir until combined, then let it roast and build the flavor for another 2 minutes.

Add the mashed tomatoes and water, and turn off the heat.

Bring everything to a boil, shake off any foam (be careful not to filter the seasonings), and reduce the heat to medium-low.

Cook for 10 minutes until it begins to thicken.

Meanwhile, wash the rice in a colander until the water runs clear. (Be precise here, otherwise the starch can spoil the soup.)

Once the soup has thickened slightly, add the rice to the saucepan and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is softened, 20 to 30 minutes.

Before serving soup, catch the seasoning (or make it a game, and see who finds it in the dishes).

Finish each bowl with a drizzle of olive oil.

Recipe from Shaya, Food Epic, My Journey to Israel: A Cookbook by Alon Shaya (Knopf; £25).

© Bloomberg

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