I started a new project at work this week and the change of pace has really been nice. In an attempt to hit the ground running and ramp up quickly I’ve been spending extra hours at the client site; which unfortunately leaves me a bit drained in the evenings. I’ve been without soup for lunch for far too long! Time to change that and introduce a new ingredient: wild rice.
Wild rice is a great change from your classic white or brown you’re probably more use to cooking with. Not only is it great for you (great source of protein, lysine and dietary fiber. also low in fat), but it’s got a great earthy nutty flavor to it. It’s hard to describe; it tastes “thick.” When cooked the rice “blossoms,” as the inside breaks out of its darker skin. Because of its thickness, it can take longer to cook (45+ minutes) and takes more water (four cups of water to one cup of rice).
I wanted something that that said “comfort food;” a label I don’t often give to the healthier soups. At the same time I wanted to preserve the wild rice’s presence instead of it serving as a filler. I decided on it’s major accompaniment to be red bell pepper and fire roasted tomatoes and was very pleased with the result. The moderate use heavy cream keeps it relatively healthy while making it indulgent. I’ve had to use sheer force of will to save it for lunch. The only thing I’d change is possibly adding another pepper. Either way, this earns a spot on my favorite soup list. Let us know what you think!
Creamy Red Bell Pepper Soup with Wild Rice
3 tablespoons oil
1 cup uncooked wild rice; rinsed and drained
1 yellow onion; diced
1 red bell pepper; diced
3 garlic cloves; minced
1 large carrot; diced
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock
8oz cauliflower; chopped into small florets
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 to 1 cup combination of heavy cream and stock
Cook the rice per the package’s instructions; probably in four cups of lightly salted water for 45 minutes. Rice should be chewy but not crunchy. Remember we’ll be cooking it longer with the rest of the ingredients.
In a large pot, sweat the onion, bell pepper, garlic cloves and carrot in oil for 10 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes along with the rice, cauliflower, stock and spices. Simmer for 30 minutes allowing everything to mingle well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
Now here’s where your tastes come in. You have two questions: how creamy and how thick? Start with at least 1/4 cup heavy cream and taste. If you want thick and lightly creamy, you’re done. If you want creamier, add more cream. If you want less thick add more stock. Either way, mix together and enjoy.