Lately I've been wondering if my chocolate addiction has gotten out of hand. I enjoyed some pre -Valentine baking and eating in addition to my regular dark chocolate consumption. Then came V-day and I slipped over the edge. My husband and son bought my favorite chocolates for the sweet holiday, and I began shoving them in fast and furiously. Sometimes it's better to just eat it all really quickly, feel ill, and then move on with your life. Right? Anyway, I think I've finally had enough and I'm craving something healthy. Tomato soup has been a favorite of mine for a long long time. Today I made a modified version of my mom's recipe. I read in Julia's Kitchen Wisdom that you can make a creamy soup by adding white rice to the base and pureeing the final product. Sometimes I just don't want to consume all the milk that goes into the original cream of tomato soup I grew up with. Particularly when I'm trying to eat something cleansing and get back on the healthy train.
Please note that this is just a basic soup recipe, it's not rocket science. Feel free to adjust the seasonings and proportions to your liking. These amounts will yield a very tomato tasting soup with just enough thickness and a tiny bit of smoothness. You can use tomato juice instead of whole tomatoes for a thinner soup, or you can add more rice if you want it starchier, or you could increase the amount of herbs if that's what you're into. You could also use less tomatoes and add some stock. However, I don't think brown rice would have the same creamy effect.
Although traditionally served with grilled cheese sandwiches cut into triangles, this time we had a yummy feta and scallion tart with the tomato soup. It was a perfect accompaniment, and easy to make. If you want to make this without dairy I think you could omit the cheese and use kalamata olives instead. The crust recipe uses vodka which I didn't have so I just left it out, and it was great. After reading the comments on the recipe I reduced the oven heat to 475 degrees and the tart cooked beautifully.
2 Tablespoons butter (you can use olive oil if you want the soup to be completely dairy free)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon each: dry basil, oregano and thyme
4 to 6 cups tomatoes, in juice - I used two large cans of whole plum tomatoes in juice for a total of 6 cups. Low sodium tomatoes would be even better.
1/4 cup white rice (uncooked)
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large soup or saucepan and add the onions. Cook until the onions are becoming translucent, then add the spices, sugar, and flour. Stir and cook for at least one minute so that the flour will begin to brown just slightly. Pour in the tomato juice a little at a time and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan as you go. Once you've got most of the juice stirred in and boiling, add the tomatoes and rice and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down so that the soup is simmering, cover loosely and cook for at least 25 minutes.
Before serving, remove the soup from heat and blend thoroughly. I used an immersion blender but you could also puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. I found that it was important to blend really well so that the rice became smooth. Garnish with parsley, chives, scallions, or whatever fresh herbs you like.
My five year old actually liked this meal! Score! I cut his tart into triangles, and he enjoyed spreading his soup on it and calling it pizza. This was fine by me. I'm also happy to report that I've successfully steered my caboose back towards health and moderation.