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When I was a kid, creamy tomato and rice soup was one of my go-to comfort foods.

My mom would make it for me, and she would make it from a box. The soup was cloyingly creamy-sweet and the rice was overcooked and mushy. I didn’t much care. It was happiness in a bowl. I’ve been pretty much chasing that flavor memory ever since. And I’ll just say, whenever I’ve come close, it hasn’t involved a box.

But I’m not opposed to cracking a few cans. Of tomatoes.

This creamy tomato and rice soup is my work-in-progress attempt to replicate the comfort food of my childhood.

Speedy Roasted Tomato and Rice Soup

Two 28-ounce cans whole, peeled tomatoes

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

½ cup long-grain white rice

2/3 cup smooth cashew butter

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

Salt and ground black pepper

Hot sauce, to taste

Heat the oven’s broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then mist it with cooking spray.

Holding a mesh strainer over a large soup pot, strain the tomatoes. Set the pot aside, reserving the tomato juice.

Split each tomato in half and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Mist the tops of the tomatoes with cooking spray, then set on the oven’s middle rack and broil for 5 minutes, or until lightly charred. Use tongs to flip the tomatoes and broil until the second sides are charred, another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the broth to the pot of tomato juice. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the rice, return to a simmer, cover, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. The rice will not absorb all of the liquid.

When the tomatoes are charred, use tongs to transfer them to a blender or processor. Add the cashew butter, then puree or process until very smooth. Add the tomato-cashew mixture to the rice, then return to a simmer. Add the thyme, then season with salt and pepper. Taste, then stir in hot sauce. Aim to add just enough hot sauce to heighten the flavors, but not add a discernible heat. Serves 6.

Per serving: 280 calories; 15 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 46 percent calories from fat); 32 g carbohydrates; 8 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 660 mg sodium; 9 g protein; 4 g fiber.

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