Oh the irony of making a recipe from a cluster of avocado recipes only to find that the avocado, specially ripened in the fruit bowl for that dish, had past its best. The Mexican Rice Soup from Vegetarian Times seemed to be crying out for the green creamy avocado. Not to be thwarted, the next day I headed to a good fruit and veg shop and bought a perfectly ripe avocado to serve with leftovers. It was worth it.
My other ‘oops!’ moment was when I decided to use up the rest of the chilli paste from the jar but swishing a little water in the jar and tipping that into the soup. As I did it, I knew I would regret it. Indeed the soup was far spicier than I can handle. So I had to turn the vegan soup into a dairy-laden soup by adding the rest of the yoghurt and grated cheese from my fridge. If you are not careless with the chilli, this soup could make a very good dairy-free meal.
On the other hand, I made it a gluten-free soup by using corn tortillas rather than wheat. They were baked in the oven in strips with a bit of oil and were a fantastic addition. Even when a bit crisp the second night, they were deliciously crispy in the soup.
As usual, I used less water than recommended so it was quite thick. E was most impressed. He would love it even more with fresh coriander (cilantro) but I didn’t have any, nor any spring onions. Next time I have to try it with both. I will just have coriander in the broth but he will have it as an uncooked garnish too. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly which instructed to make a separate broth and strain it. But I didn’t see the sense in straining away the onion and garlic.
We had the soup in the depth of winter but I would highly recommend it as a summer meal. The tomato and corn, together with chunks of avocado are look so cheerful and taste so fresh.
It might be a wet winter day here but I am happy to share a cheerful sunny soup today because I have had a good day. I resubmitted a journal article, heard a whisper that there will be good news on funding at work, I shared a delicious sourdough fruit toast with my mum without incurring a parking ticket, and, most importantly of all, I managed to bring in the washing before the rain came on. In addition, I am happy that Sylvia is sleeping. She might not sleep when we head out to dinner this evening, but at least she is more likely to be smiling.
Mexican Rice Soup
(adapted from Vegetarian Times, September 2008)
serves 4 as main meal
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
650ml vegetable stock
150ml white wine
1 tsp chilli paste
¼ cup fresh coriander, chopped (I didn’t use)
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup white short grain rice (I used basmati)
4 tomatoes, chopped
kernels of 2 cobs of corn
2 spring onions (I didn’t use)
6-8 small corn tortillas (about 15cm diameter)
1 avocado diced
¼ cup yoghurt (optional)
couple of handfuls of grated cheese (optional)
handful of parsley or extra fresh coriander, chopped
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Fry the onions for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Stir in garlic and fry 1 minute. Add stock, wine, water, lime zest, chilli paste, oregano and coriander (if using). Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
While soup is simmering, spray tortillas with cooking oil, cut into strips and spread out on a baking tray. Bake for 10 – 20 minutes. (The first night I cooked mine 20 minutes and they were just right, the second night they were a little browner than I intended but they kept their crunch in the soup, which was quite nice.)
Add rice to soup and simmer about 10 minutes (or till rice is just soft). Then add tomatoes, corn and lime juice. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes to warm them through. Remove from heat and stir in yoghurt (if using). Stir in the remaining fresh parsley or coriander.
To serve, ladle soup into a bowl and arrange taco strips, spring onions and avocado chunks on top. Sprinkle with a grated cheese if desired.
On the stereo:
Best of Bob Dylan