Golden Pepper and Tomato Soup
1 lb tomatoes
1/3 c. white rice
1 medium yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
3 yellow or orange bell peppers
2T extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch saffron
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs, leaves plucked from stems
1t sweet paprika
1T tomato paste
1qt vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Garnish: Silvered opal basil, green basil, marjoram, parsley
1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Silce an X at the base of each
tomato. Pluge them 2 at a time, into the water for about 10 seconds,
then remove and set aside. Add the rice and ½ teaspoon salt
water to the water, lower the heat to simmer, and cook until the rice
is tender, about 12 minutes. Drain.
2. Chop the onion. Mince the garlic with a pinch of salt until mushy.
Dice the peppers into small squares, removing the seeds and membranes
first. You should have about 2 cups. Peel and seed the tomatoes,
reserving the juice, then dice the walls and mince the cores.
3. Heat the oil in a soup pot and add the onions, peppers, saffron, bay
leaf, thyme, and paprika. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally,
until the onion has begun to soften and color, about 6 minutes. Add the
garlic, then stir in the tomato paste and 1 teaspoon salt. Give it a
stir and add ¼ cup water. Stew for 5 minutes, then add the
tomatoes, their juice, and the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the
heat to low and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.
4. When ready to serve, reheat the soup with the rice, then ladle it
into bowls. Or, make a mound of rice in each bowl and spoon the soup
around it. Season with pepper and garnish with fine slivers of herbs.
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