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One of my absolute favorites of all the soups has to be Tomato Soup. It is the ultimate in comfort food to me, and probably one of the very few tinned soups I will eat and enjoy. Although in all honesty, even in the world of tomato soup homemade is infinitely better!
Tomato & Rice Soup is my favorite of all the Tomato Soups. There used to be a restaurant where you could get really great Tomato & Rice Soup here in Canada. I can’t remember which one it was, but they had bits of spinach in the soup. It was lovely.
Growing up, the thought never occurred to me that anyone would make tomato soup from scratch. Mom never did, and she was the Queen of the homemade soups! Her homemade soup was legendary.
I guess I just always thought that if mom never made homemade tomato soup, then it must have been too hard, or it must have required highly unusual ingredients that nobody could get, etc.
It was when I was married to my first husband that I realized that people could make their own tomato soup at home. Completely from scratch. Without opening a tin from Campbells or Heinz.
And that it wasn’t all that difficult to make. Not difficult to make at all. My sister in law was making homemade soup for my brother in law and my curiosity was piqued. I had to taste it. It was very good. VERY good.
That simple experience started me on the journey of making my own from scratch Tomato Soup and I have never looked back. Making your own from scratch is simple, using nothing at all out of the ordinary. In fact, I am sure you have everything in your house right now to make a delicious pot.
And it really isn’t much further of a stretch to make Tomato & Rice Soup. I quite adore it. If you are like me, and you keep cans of good tinned tomatoes in your store cupboard, with a few other bits, you are never far away from a tasty bowl of tomato soup.
When I was in the UK, I always used Cirio brand Italian tomatoes. They were the best in my opinion. I haven’t sorted out who the best would be here in Nova Scotia yet. It will take a bit of trial and error.
It just stands to reason however that if you are making a homemade tomato soup, with tomatoes as the main ingredient, you want a good brand of tomatoes. And you want tomatoes packed in tomato juice. These will give you the best flavor for your soup.
A bit of carrot, some onion, celery, garlic . . . nothing outrageously out of the ordinary. Things most people keep in their refrigerators most of the time! The Basics.
Tomato & Rice Soup is also a great way to use up leftover cooked rice. I prefer brown rice myself as it has more fiber and a higher nutritional value. As an older person, this might be my main meal of the day and I like to pack as much fiber and nutrition into it as I can.
Likewise I use a bit of whole-wheat flour to thicken it, but you can of course use just all purpose flour if that is all you have. Fiber and nutrition wherever I can sneak it in.
You do also need a bit of chicken stock. If you want to make it vegetarian, by all means use vegetable stock. You can use powdered or cubes, or if you are really lucky and happen to have some, fresh chicken or vegetable broth. It comes in tetra packs here in Canada. Very impressed with that!
I use a few dried herbs. Oregano and basil for that real Italian flavor. You could also use some basil pesto if you really wanted to pack an Italian punch into this soup. Personally I just like the herbs.
I do like to add a splash of hot sauce. Tabasco preferably. Its just what I have always used. How much you add depends on how much heat you want to add. I err on the side of caution because I don’t like things overly spicy/hot.
If you have fresh basil, you can add some of that by all means. I often add a handful of fresh spinach (stems removed) just prior to serving this. That way it keeps its dark green color. You could add the basil at the same time.
You don’t want to be adding much however. Remember there is already dried basil in the soup and basil is one of those things that can very easily be overdone.
One thing I really love about this soup is its texture. I love that it is not pureed, and that the vegetables are all kept whole, especially the chunks of tomato.
It makes for a heartier feeling finish. It also looks really nice I think, to see all the flecks and chunks. Most attractive.
I do like to add a bit of cream at the end for added richness. Normally I use undiluted evaporated milk. Its much lower in fat and cost for that matter. You can buy it in small cans for smaller families also. But if you aren’t worried about fat or calories, just use the cream!
I am at the point now in my life where I almost don’t want to worry about the fat and calories of cream. I have nobody to impress and its not like I have it very often. So why not enjoy what you can in life while you are still here to enjoy it.
In any case I hope you will make this and enjoy it as much as I do. I like it with crisp saltine crackers (Italian crackers in the UK) but a crusty roll is just as nice along side of this fabulously tasty soup!
Tomato & Rice Soup (small batch)
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 45 Min
Wholesome, delicious and perfectly sized for the small family.
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 stalks celery, plus leaves, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 TBS butter
1/2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS whole wheat flour
3/4 cup (130g )cooked brown rice
1 (14 oz/400g) tins whole plum tomatoes in tomato juice, undrained
1/2 TBS soft light brown sugar
1/4 tsp each oregano and basil flakes
1 cup (240ml) chicken stock
1/2 cup (120ml)light cream
(I use low fat evaporated milk)
salt and black pepper to taste
a splash hot sauce if desired
Heat the butter and the oil in a large saucepan until the butter begins to foam. Add the celery, onion, carrot and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally over medium low heat until the onion is golden. Stir in the flour and rice, breaking up the rice. Continue to sauté until the rice begins to brown a bit. Add the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a spoon, the chicken stock, brown sugar, oregano and basil and a splash of hot sauce if using. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a very slow simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with some salt and black pepper. Stir in the cream and heat through without boiling. Serve immediately.
If you are more interested in cooking a larger recipe of this soup (feeding 4 to 6) you can simply double all of the ingredients, or you can find my full sized recipe here.
This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com Thanks so much for visiting. Do come again!
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