We had a recent cold spell here in the Bay Area. Which was not fun. It being chilly in August is a whole new world that I haven’t experienced in my years of living with constant 100˚ weather. This is gonna take some getting used to.
But during the cold spell, what better thing to eat than soup? Nothing really. Soup just makes you feel all warm and cozy, and as a bonus: you typically make a lot of soup so you have leftovers for days!
Obviously since I decided to make soup on the fly (and because meat is expensive), I opted for a vegetable rice soup combination. Still hearty and very good for you.
To start out this hearty soup, I got together some celery, carrot, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. These are the vegetables I typically always have on hand, so they work well for an improptu soup. Diced tomatoes would probably be a nice edition to add some acidity if you have those on hand or any other vegetable you like stewed. But for me, these four will do the trick.
So I started out sauteing the carrots, onion, celery, and bell pepper in some butter. I prefer butter in soup bases but the butter could easily be substituted for olive oil. Throw in a little bit of salt and pepper to taste and saute these vegetables up for a couple minutes. Once the onions are semi-translucent and the carrots begin to soften up, it’s time to throw in the rice and other things.
First I added in the garlic and let that cook until the garlic gets aromatic. Once you can smell the garlic in the pan it’s time to add the rice and the spices. Throw a little more butter into the pan and add in the rice. For this recipe I used wild rice because I like wild rice blends. Other rice can be used. White rice is a perfectly fine substitution or if you want something a little healthier, brown rice.
What we’re going for here is a little bit of toasting of the rice. Toasting the rice before cooking it in liquid adds a little inherent nuttiness to the rice and helps the rice absorb flavors better. This sort of step is crucial if you want to make rice pilafs (just as a fun fact).
To the toasting rice, you want to add your seasonings. For this I opted for something simple that I already had in my pantry. And that was some creole seasoning. I have a ton of this since I made some for a recipe, forgot about it, and then made more. Classic. But I like it since it is a mixture of spices that I would normally blend together for things. The creole seasoning I use comes straight from Emeril (which I’ve linked to in the actual recipe) and I really don’t change anything about it. It’s a simple mixture of paprika, garlic, onion, pepper, cayenne, oregano, and thyme.
Once the rice and the spices are thoroughly toasted, it’s time to add in the liquid. For this I used some vegetable stock, water, and a little bit of lime juice. It takes a pretty good helping of chicken stock and water since the rice will absorb quite a bit of liquid as it cooks. How I approached this was really that I added in the stock and lime juice and then added water as needed as the soup simmered to ensure the liquid level didn’t get too low. The point is to make a soup, not a rice dish.
After letting it simmer until the rice was cooked, which takes a good 40 minutes or so, I finished off my soup with a little bit of fresh cilantro. Because why not? I love cilantro (it’s probably my favorite herb) so I’ll use any excuse to add it to something. Besides, it adds a nice freshness to the dish.
And there you have it, some vegetable rice soup. The creole seasoning gives it a nice kick, and if you feel it will be a little too much of a kick, you can hold back on the creole seasoning. I understand that spiciness isn’t for everyone. But this will certainly warm you up on a cold (or chilly) day.
Spicy Vegetable Rice Soup
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hr
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 stalks celery
- ½ onion, diced
- ½ bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cup wild rice
- 2 tbs creole seasoning
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 4 cups water
- 2 tbs lime juice
- ¾ cup cilantro
- 1 tbs salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- Melt 2 tbs butter in a stockpot
- Add carrots, onion, celery, bell pepper, salt, and pepper
- Saute for 10 minutes until onions become translucent and celery begins to soften
- Add garlic and cook until aromatic, 30 sec
- Add remaining butter, rice, and creole seasoning, saute rice for an additional 2 minutes
- Deglaze pot with chicken stock and water
- Add lime juice and bring pot to a boil, reduce heat to simmer
- Simmer on medium low heat for 40 minutes, until rice is cooked. If liquid level seems low, add more water as needed
- Once rice is cooked, add cilantro and serve