October 08, 2017

Fiesta Tomato Soup


This is my take on tomato-rice soup, packing it with more vegetables, Mexican seasonings, and a couple of chile peppers for extra oomph, not to mention the added bonus of sinus-clearing properties. The name "Fiesta" comes from the finely diced colourful vegetables looking a bit like confetti. It's not actually a Mexican recipe, although it would probably work very well with a garnish of diced avocado and a squeeze of lime juice.

This is a moderately light soup, without any significant source of protein, but perfect for a light meal. If you wanted a slightly heartier version, I recommend adding a cup of cooked pinto beans. You could round out the meal with a toasted sandwich, but if you're wanting a lighter affair it's perfect with just a couple of crackers or hunk of bread (or tortilla) on the side.

You could add still more vegetables if you like - finely diced zucchini would be a good choice - and if you simply can't picture a vegetable soup without carrots, they'd be good here, too.

Fiesta Tomato Soup

Makes about 8 cups

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 cup frozen corn kernels (or kernels cut from one fresh ear of corn)
1/2 bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow), diced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons dry vermouth
400 mL (1 1/2 cups) canned crushed tomatoes
500 mL (2 cups) vegetable stock or broth
500 mL (2 cups) water
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
100 grams (1/2 cup) parboiled rice, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (or marjoram)
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
parsley or cilantro (optional)

There's nothing surprising about the method here - standard soup-making business. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and add the bay leaves. Add the onion and celery, and cook, stirring periodically, for about five or ten minutes until they vegetables become translucent. Add the garlic and the corn, and stir through again. When it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, add the vermouth and stir through again, scraping up any stuck bits. Right away you can add the crushed tomatoes, the cumin, oregano, and white pepper, and stir through.

Add the stock or broth and the water, and bring it up to a simmer. Stir in the bell pepper and jalapeño peppers. Taste the soup to see if you need to add any salt - I didn't add any, because my stock cube was quite salty, but add some if you think it needs it. The soup won't taste great yet, because it hasn't had time for the flavours to come together, so if it's a little thin at this point don't be disappointed.

Finally, add the well-rinsed rice. Parboiled is the best rice to use for this, because it doesn't turn to mush in longer cooking times. That characteristic makes parboiled rice a poor choice for congee, but an excellent choice for this soup, because the grains stay whole even after a spell in the freezer, if you make enough for leftovers. Stir the rice through, and turn the heat to low. Cook the soup for 15 minutes on the lowest setting, without lifting the lid, and then turn the heat off completely and leave it (still without lifting the lid) for another fifteen minutes. Don't worry, it's still going to be plenty hot. When the timer goes off, your soup is ready. Stir in a little parsley or cilantro, and start ladling it into bowls. The rice and the corn should be perfectly cooked but not mushy, and the soup will have thickened a bit.

If you're going to freeze the soup, cool it completely before putting in the fridge overnight, and then transfer to the freezer the next day.



2 comments:

Diana welvaert said...

Hi Dawna,
Going to make this one tonight. Its that kind of a day/night. I will post for you. But I am going to add Kale to it. A bit more girth for me. Plus I get my greens in that way.

Hope you guys are getting well now.

Diana

Dawna said...

Fantastic, Diana! Kale would be a great addition. Thanks so much for letting me know, and enjoy!