This Sept.  22, 2014 photo shows roasted tomato and rice soup in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/MatthewMead)

This Sept. 22, 2014 photo shows roasted tomato and rice soup in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/MatthewMead)

Tomato rice soup: A speedy bowl of creamy comfort

  • By J.M. HIRSCH
  • Tuesday, October 7, 2014 4:31pm
  • LifeFood

When I was a kid, creamy tomato and rice soup was one of my go-to comfort foods.

My mom would make it for me, and she would make it from a box. The soup was cloyingly creamy-sweet and the rice was overcooked and mushy. I didn’t much care. It was happiness in a bowl. I’ve been pretty much chasing that flavor memory ever since. And I’ll just say, whenever I’ve come close, it hasn’t involved a box.

But I’m not opposed to cracking a few cans. Of tomatoes.

This creamy tomato and rice soup is my work-in-progress attempt to replicate the comfort food of my childhood, but with better results and much better ingredients. For depth of flavor (but still tons of ease), I start with canned whole tomatoes. They get a brief stint under the broiler to caramelize the sugars and deepen the flavors.

For even more flavor, the rice is cooked in a blend of chicken broth and the tomato juices strained from the cans.

But it’s the creaminess the puts it over the edge. Instead of cream, I use cashew butter. It’s just as rich and creamy, but less sweet. Nuts and tomatoes work wonderfully together, and this soup is a fine example. The cashew butter (sold alongside peanut butter), keeps the overall flavor of the soup savory without sacrificing the creaminess we find so comforting.

 

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

Two 28-ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup long-grain white rice

2/3 cup smooth cashew butter

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

Salt and ground black pepper

Hot sauce, to taste

Heat the oven’s broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then mist it with cooking spray.

Holding a mesh strainer over a large soup pot, strain the tomatoes. Set the pot aside, reserving the tomato juice.

Split each tomato in half and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Mist the tops of the tomatoes with cooking spray, then set on the oven’s middle rack and broil for 5 minutes, or until lightly charred. Use tongs to flip the tomatoes and broil until the second sides are charred, another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the broth to the pot of tomato juice. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the rice, return to a simmer, cover, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. The rice will not absorb all of the liquid.

When the tomatoes are charred, use tongs to transfer them to a blender or processor. Add the cashew butter, then puree or process until very smooth. Add the tomato-cashew mixture to the rice, then return to a simmer. Add the thyme, then season with salt and pepper. Taste, then stir in hot sauce. Aim to add just enough hot sauce to heighten the flavors, but not add a discernable heat.

Nutrition information per serving: 280 calories; 130 calories from fat (46 percent of total calories); 15 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 32 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 9 g protein; 660 mg sodium.

More in Life

This photo of Frenchy with a freshly killed black bear was taken on the Kenai Peninsula in the early 1900s. (Photo courtesy of the Viani Family Collection)
Unraveling the story of Frenchy, Part 1

The stories were full of high adventure — whaling, mining, polar bear hunting, extensive travel, and the accumulation of wealth

File
Seeing God’s hand in this grand and glorious creation

The same God of creation is the God that made me and you with the same thoughtfulness of design, purpose and intention

Chewy and sweet the macaroons are done in 30 minutes flat. (Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Sophisticated, simplified

When macarons are too complicated, make these delicious, simple macaroons

Michael S. Lockett / capital city weekly
Gigi Monroe welcomes guests to Glitz at Centennial Hall, a major annual drag event celebrated every Pride Month, on June 18.
Packed houses, back to back: GLITZ a roaring success

Sold-out sets and heavy-hitting headliners

Michael Armstrong / Homer News 
Music lovers dance to Nervis Rex at the KBBI Concert on the Lawn on July 28, 2012, at Karen Hornaday Park in Homer.
Concert on the Lawn returns

COTL line up includes The English Bay Band, a group that played in 1980

Marcia and Mary Alice Grainge pose in 1980 with a pair of caribou antlers they found in 1972. The sisters dug the antlers from deep snow and detached them from a dead caribou. (Photo provided by Marcia Grainge King)
Fortune and misfortune on the Kenai — Part 2

In Kasilof, and on Kachemak Bay, in Seldovia and later in Unga, Petersen worked various jobs before being appointed deputy marshal in 1934

“Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement” was published in 2018 by Razorbill and Dutton, imprints of Penguin Random House LLC. (Image via amazon.com)
Off the Shelf: The power of personal voice

“A Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement” provides first-person accounts of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida

Most Read