Friday, June 22, 2007

Tomato Basil Soup with Curried Rice

Last night, I threw together the tastiest and quickest dinner I may have ever made. Okay, short of a sandwich or reheating leftovers. I got the idea from a sale ad I saw earlier this week. I didn't love the recipe, but the idea behind it was intriguing and it did inspire me to use it as a springboard for something I would really like. This would be a good time to mention that Curries are among my favorite in the culinary world. I did not mention this when I posted a picture of part of my herb garden BUT........ I discovered something new this year. While at a nursery searching for a few herbs I would buy as plants, I detected the most heavenly scent. I was standing over cilantro and smelling CURRY! I honestly smelled Curry. IMPOSSIBLE! First of all, Curry is a spice not an herb. Second, though there is ground coriander (which comes from the same plant as cilantro) in the curry spice blend... there is no cilantro. Then I noticed a plant that looked like Rosemary or even more like Lavender, but had a silver hue to it, and it was daintier. I rubbed the needle like leaves and sniffed. CURRY! For those of you avid herb gardeners, you may think me nuts.. but I have never seen or heard of this delightful little piece of the herb plant world. I had no idea just how you cook with this culinary find, but I bought two and figured I would sort out the details later. They are both pictured here. Since buying these plants I have looked them up and found that:
"Culinary: The English especially like to use this herb, fresh in cream cheese for sandwiches, egg dishes, in salads and with chicken. Here at our farm we like to use the fresh and dried curry in egg dishes."

Although I do not remember where, I read somewhere online that you can treat snipped pieces of the plant like bay leaves. Put them in a dish that cooks in liquid and remove them just before serving. I guess I will have to think about how I would like to try that.... but for now the way that the English use it is certainly good enough for me.

Having said all of that, I will tell you now that these curry plants had nothing to do with dinner last night. I used Red Curry powder. :-) And, here is the recipe:

Tomato Basil Soup with Curried Rice

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Curry powder
Dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup uncooked Jasmine rice
2 cups water
2 10 3/4 ounce cans condensed Tomato soup
1 1/3 cans of water (use soup cans)
1/3 cup fresh chopped basil
1/4 teaspoon ground red (Cayenne) pepper
1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add only 1 tsp. of the Curry powder, and all of the salt and black pepper. Saute the seasonings in oil and add uncooked rice. Cook the rice stirring it until it is golden... maybe 3 minutes. Add the 2 cups of water. Bring this to a boil and cover. Simmer on a lower heat until the rice is tender.... about 15 minutes.

In another saucepan heat the soup, remaining water, the other teaspoon of curry powder, basil, and red pepper. Simmer on low until the rice is done.

In the middle of a soup bowl (low and flat bowls are best here) put a mound of the rice. Have the mound higher than where you plan to put soup. Then, ladle or pour soup around the rice. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

I am always looking for great recipes that use fresh herbs. This one definitely qualifies. I hope you enjoy it, too.



Kim said...

Hmmmm, an herb I've not heard of! Where did you find it, Teresa? I'll have to look for that one. Your recipe looks yummy!

Kelli said...

I have never heard of that herb either! Your soup sounds delicious!!!