Tomato soup with rice and lemon from the Eastern Mediterranean

Rice and lemon soup

I’ve been busy trying out some delicious new recipes. Some are very healthy, such as this one. Others, not so much, but still super tasty.

Tomato Soup with Rice and Lemon from the Eastern Mediterranean

One medium onion, coarsely chopped

One medium leek, trimmed and sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tbsp olive oil

One large can of diced tomatoes

Sea salt

Pinch of sugar

Grated zest of a lemon

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 bay leaf

2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup long grain rice

2 egg yolks

juice of one lemon

Pinch of dried red chili pepper

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup slivered fresh basil leaves

Drizzle of olive oil

Combine the onion, leek, garlic with oil in a saucepan set over medium-high heat, and cook until the onions are soft and golden, about 10-15 minutes. Toss in the tomatoes and add salt, sugar, lemon zest, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken stock and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf and puree the soup. I used a stick blender and found this to be extremely dangerous – whipping boiling liquid all around the place can lead to some pain. However, I was way too lazy to transfer everything to a blender and back, so I would still do it this way again. Just consider yourself warned. Once pureed soup is simmering again, add the rice and let cook for about 20 minutes, until rice is very soft.

Rice and lemon soup1

Next came a new trick for me: making an avgolemono, which is apparently an egg sauce with lemon. You start by beating the egg yolks to a thick foam.

Rice and lemon soup2

Then you slowly add the lemon juice. The trick is getting the egg sauce into the soup without it curdling. So once the rice is soft, take a ladleful of the soup and gently beat it into the avgolemono. Then do that again twice, tempering the egg sauce. Turn the heat on the soup down until it’s barely simmering and, stirring constantly, slowly tip the egg sauce into the soup. Don’t let this come to a boil. The soup should thicken up nicely. I found this was closer to a stew when I made it – you could eat it with a fork if you wanted.

Just before serving, toss in the basil, chili pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Word of the day:

Opus: one of the compositions of a composer, usually numbered according to the order of publication;

a literary work or composition, as a book: Have you read her latest opus? Abbreviation:  op.

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