just to set the record straight if i havent yet: dan the sexican is the BEST soup master ever. he’s a pro at cleaning out the cupboards and whipping up something awesome, but can tackle any soup recipe with ease. since he’s less experienced than i in the kitchen, i like to pick recipes that he’ll immediately feel comfortable with, and since it was his night to cook, i picked a delicious sounding soup recipe. when i got home last night and opened the door, i was smacked in the face with the most rich, head over heels “HEY, I’M TOMATO SOUP!” smell ever! and dan made sure to let me know that he “had fun” with the different little steps involved in making the meal. the recipe came from mark bittmans “how to cook anything vegetarian”. a coworker had an extra copy of this behemoth lying around and passed it on to me. although i rarely buy “vegetarian” cookbooks for fear that i would spend more time adapting and substituting rather than cooking, this book is so damn big it’s easy to avoid egg based dishes-and most of the cheese is for garnish. the majority of the recipes are simple, showcasing the flavor of one or two vegetables, and doesn’t rely on processed ingredients and mock-meats/cheeses-although there is a chapter dedicated to homemade veggie burgers, tofu, and seitan. another awesome feature is that proceeding each recipe is several adaptations on the same dish, so if you rely heavily on books to help you cook, you’ll never get bored! so, enough book-stroking, heres the recipe.
Wintertime Tomato Soup w/Rice Variation
1 c loosely packed sun dried tomatoes
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs fresh thyme
1 tbs minced garlic
1 med carrot finely diced
1 sm red onion halved and thinly sliced
2 tbs maple syrup (orig called for honey)
1 qt vegetable stock
1 c arborio rice
preheat the oven to 375. cover the dried tomatoes with 2 cups boiling water and soak. drain the canned tomatoes, reserve the liquid, and cut in half. place them in a shallow roasting pan, and drizzle with 2 TBS of the olive oil, and sprinkle with the thyme. roast turning once or twice until browned and dried-about 30 minutes.
once the tomatoes in the oven are done, drain the sun dried tomatoes and pour the soaking liquid into the roasting pan, scraping up any stuck-on bits. now chop the soaked tomaotes and add them to the pan.
add the remaining oil to your soup pot over medium heat. when hot, add the garlic and saute until it just begins to color. add the carrot and onion and cook until they just begin to release their liquid-about 3 minutes. sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the syrup, and stir briefly.
add the reserved liquid form the canned tomatoes and stir until the liquid dries out and darkens. *dan said that this took a lot longer than the recipe stipulated, so be patient-a shallow, wide soup pan will expedite this step. now add the stock and the contents of the roasting pan along with the rice. raise the heat to a boil and drop to a simmer, cover and cook until the rice is done and the veggies are very tender, about 30 minutes. this is most excellent with warmed, crusty bread.