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Fresh Choices, by Rochelle Davis, David Joachim

Makes 6 servings

After playing outside during chilly autumn afternoons as a kid, I found nothing warmed me up more than a bowl of creamy tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. In this version, pureed cooked rice thickens the soup instead of cream. This steaming bowl is the perfect place to crumble a few of your favorite crackers.

2 tablespoons organic butter
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 organic celery rib, chopped
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or pasture-raised or organic chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried basil or marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups cooked white rice
1 cup organic 2% milk

Melt the butter in a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery.

Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, broth, and basil or marjoram.

Bring to a boil over high heat.
Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the flavors are blended, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup rice.

Puree the soup in a blender or food processor (in batches if necessary).

Return the soup to medium-low heat and stir in the milk and the remaining 3/4 cup rice.

Heat through and serve.

Helping Hand: I use canned tomatoes here because I usually fix this dish in the fall, after tomatoes are long gone from the vine. Of course, if fresh tomatoes are in season when you make it, use those instead. You'll need about 3 cups of peeled, cored, and chopped tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds). For the rice, I like medium-grain white rice, but long-grain, short-grain, or quick-cooking rice will also work.


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