This is the third and last item in Tomato Days, or What to Do When the Neighbors Leave a Bag O'Tomatoes on Your Doorstep.
I have tagged this recipe as Mexican only because it calls for chipotle pepper. I could make it more mexican-ish by adding a few more items, but the semi-long list of ingredients already gives some of my readers heart palpitations ... I didn't want to kill them outright. But for you more adventuresome readers, feel free to add a cup or so of corn (off the cob), couple tablespoons lime juice, up to one teaspoon cumin, and/or any other Mexican spice you like to really jazz up the final product.
Speaking of which, by "spicy," I mean flavor, NOT heat. But if you are still nervous, then simply leave out the hot paprika and chipotle pepper. Just don't complain when you taste the soup and think it "needs something."
Spicy Tomato Rice Soup
1/2 cup long-grain rice
1 cup water
1 Tbl. butter or margarine
1 medium onion
1/2 tsp. celery seeds
1 medium carrot
1 tsp. chopped garlic (bottled ok)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes in juice
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. ground hot red paprika
1/2 tsp. ground chipotle chili pepper
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Boil water in 1 quart saucepan. Add rice, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and uncover rice to let it dry out a bit until ready to add to soup (helps keep the rice from getting soggy until the last drop of soup).
Meanwhile, chop onion and carrot. I've shown in other recipes (like this one) how I do the chopping of onions, so as a change of pace, here's how I chop a carrot:
First, using a peeler, peel the carrot. If you already chopped the onion and tossed the knife in a sink of dirty dishes, just continue with the peeling until you are down to the core and pretend the shreds are chopped carrot. Otherwise ...
... slice the peeled carrot lengthwise (after removing the top), slice through the slices lengthwise as well, then slice across to get small cubes or rectangles. As long as they are small, the exact size doesn't matter since it will all be blended at the end. You just want small so that the carrot will cook faster.
ln 4 quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
Add onion, carrot and celery seed.
Cook, stirring frequently, until onion starts to brown, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring constantly, for another minute.
Add tomatoes with their juice, broth, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
Remove saucepan from heat. Puree with hand blender until as smooth as you can get it.
Dump in cooked rice and stir.
Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.