Red Bean and Rice Soup

I want to remember us this way—
late September sun streaming through
the window, bread loaves and golden
bunches of grapes on the table,
spoonfuls of hot soup rising
to our lips, filling us
with what endures.
-“A Pot of Red Lentils,” Peter Pereira
After a season of rich holiday meals and sweets, this was the perfect meal refresh with. Hearty and filling, tasty and warm, it reaches into every crevice  of your body and fills it up with only good things. It’s even better if your husband cooks it for you while you watch old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I present to you Red Bean and Rice Soup.
It’s from Deborah Madison’s The Savory Way. It’s a very thick soup, and is great with a little Parmesan cheese, parsley, and sea salt sprinkled on top. It makes 13-14 cups. And while it’s called Red Bean and Rice Soup it’s only vaguely Cajun. It’s more like a mild jambalaya (in ingredients and texture) than the piles of red beans and andouille sausage piled high on fluffy white rice I enjoy so much.
But not only does it taste just as good (dare I say better?), it’s so much healthier. For each one cup serving (excluding any cheese or extras you add after it’s cooked), it’s only 98 calories, 18 carbs, and 2 grams each of fat (and that’s polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat to boot; no saturated or trans!), sugar, fiber, and protein. And when you consider all the vitamins and antioxidants present in the vegetables, it gets only better. And if you skip the cheese at the end, you’ve got yourself a wholesome and delicious-beyond-words vegan meal for your Meatless Mondays.
You’ll need:
  • 1 cup brown or short-grain white rice
  • 1 cup kidney beans, soaked 6 hours or overnight
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • 1 15-ounce can dice tomatoes, the juice reserved
  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato puree or tomato paste
  1. If you’re using brown rice, cover it with water and set it aside to soak while the beans are cooking. Drain it before adding to the beans.
  2. Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot; add the garlic, onion, celery, carrot, and herbs. Lightly salt. Stir together and cook over medium heat until the onions being to soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato puree. Measure the liquid from the tomatoes and add enough water to make 2-1/2 quarts.
  4. Drain the beans and add them to the pot; bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt. (If you’re using canned beans, don’t simmer nearly this long.) When the beans are tender but still a little firm, add the rice and continue cooking until the rice is done–15-20 minutes for white and about 35 for brown.
  5. Pour the soup into a serving dish or warmed bowls and stir in a dash of melted butter or olive oil. Sprinkle with parsley, grated Parmesan, and a generous amount of pepper.
This entry was published on January 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm and is filed under food. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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