CREAMED VEGETABLE SOUP WITH RICE BALLS

CREAMED VEGETABLE SOUP WITH RICE BALLS
Asparagus, pea and carrot puree with curry and tarragon. Served over smoke flavored curried rice and bean balls.

Serves 6

Rice:

2-1/2 c. water

1/2 t. salt

2 c. long grain white rice

Soup:

15 oz. can cut asparagus with liquid (or spears, it doesn’t matter)

15 oz. can peas with liquid (preferably petite)

15 oz. can sliced carrots with liquid

1 t. mild curry powder

1 t. dried tarragon, crushed

1/4 t. ground sage

1/2 t. plus salt to taste

black pepper to taste (preferably freshly ground)

1 c. non-dairy liquid creamer

Add to rice:

15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

28 oz. can Vegetarian Baked Beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 c. sweet red roasted peppers, diced into 3/8-1/2 inch squares

2 T. margarine

1 T. red wine vinegar

1 t. onion powder

1 t. mild curry powder

1 t. dried tarragon

1/2 t. liquid smoke

sev. shakes black pepper

salt to taste

In large saucepan combine water and salt. Heat to boiling, add rice, stir, cover and simmer over low heat for exactly 20 minutes. Transfer to large mixing bowl and fluff with fork.

Meanwhile, combine asparagus and peas with liquid in blender. Blend on low, then high to very smooth and creamy. Transfer to large saucepan.

Add carrots and liquid to blender. Blend on low, then high heat to very smooth and creamy. Transfer to pan with asparagus and peas.

Turn heat to medium, then stir to thoroughly incorporate all ingredients, adding the curry powder, tarragon, sage, salt and black pepper to taste and non-dairy liquid creamer while you stir. Heat to a low boil, stirring occasionally and until soup is hot, fragrant and flavored just right.

To rice add: tomatoes, baked beans, margarine, vinegar, onion powder, curry powder, tarragon, liquid smoke and black pepper. Stir well, then salt to taste. Stir again till rice sticks to beans, but without stirring them to mush.

To serve: Firmly pack a one-third cup measuring utensil full, then level off top. Invert onto bottom of a soup bowl; lift off cup to reveal a perfectly formed rice ball. Gently pour 3/4 cup soup around and over the rice ball. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper (and green garnish, if you’d like) and serve at once.

Notes: Serve with toss green salad with dressing of choice after the meal, not before.

This is an unusual dish. Don’t hesitate to rinse and drain the baked beans. Other beans do not work well with these rice balls, because they’re too rigid. Baked beans are beautifully tender because of all the cooking done at the factory and they still retain some of the sweetness from the original sauce, adhering to the rice without becoming mushy. Other beans make the balls fall apart too easily in the soup.

Experiment with different herbs and spices. Fresh cilantro might work well, but then if I had my way I’d put cilantro in everything. Fresh basil or sage?

You’ll probably have leftover rice. The soup can also be served alone without the rice balls, as a light meal. The rice balls simply make the meal hearty enough even without a salad. This is one of those dishes that when eating, it transports one to foreign lands. A cheap way to travel!

Who says cooking with canned foods can’t produce fine dining? This is much easier than the ingredients and instructions make it appear.

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