(p.s. you can tell my husband definitely did not take this picture!  sigh, eventually I'll get better)

One of my favorite soups – this was sooo easy, quick and healthy!  A real time saver, especially on those cold rainy days when you are craving homemade soup.  Most of the time I use homemade chicken stock….but it is always handy to have organic store bought chicken stock on hand when you don’t have homemade.
2 Tblsp. Olive oil
1 large onion – roughly chopped
4 minced garlic cloves
2 diced celery stalks with leaves
1 28 oz. Can whole tomatoes (with juice)
3 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. Thyme
2 big tsp. Fennel
3 bay leaves (mine were small to medium size)
salt and pepper
½ cup cooked long grain rice
Optional:  handful of chopped spinach, or collard greens, or kale.
In a pot bring ½ cup rice to 1  cups water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook about 15 min. or until rice has absorbed all the liquid.  Once cooked remove from the heat and set aside.
Add olive oil to a pot, low to medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and celery – sautéing to sweat out.  Add the seasonings, and stir to blend.  Then add the tomatoes with juice (break up the tomatoes with a spoon), chicken stock, and any greens.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer, about 30 minutes.
Remove from heat – allow to cool about 10 minutes.  Spoon all the veggies into a food processor and blend till smooth.  Remove the bay leaves from the broth, add in the pureed vegetables, and the cooked rice stirring to blend.  Return to a low heat to heat through – adjust any seasonings.
Served with grill cheese – perfect for lunch or dinner
Note:  fresh tomatoes would be lovely too. Have you ever noticed, that the whole canned tomatoes have more flavor than the diced ones??

Ina Gawne

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March 16, 2010