White Bean and Brown Rice Soup

This is an easy winter weeknight supper that is warming and savory—just thing thing for a rainy evening.

White Bean and Brown Rice Soup
Yield: 6 servings

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
large carrots, scrubbed and finely diced
celery stalks, finely diced
large yellow onion, finely diced
Salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 large pinch red-pepper flakes
1/3 cup organic short grain brown rice,  rinsed and parboiled*
(15-ounce) cans navy beans or cannellini beans, rinsed
tablespoon herbes de Provence
1 small bay leaf
6 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/3 cup red wine
Lemon, for serving

While the you are chopping the vegetables, place the rice in a small saucepan, covered in lots of water, and boil for 15 minutes or so, to parboil.

In a large pot (I use a Dutch oven), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, carrots, celery and onion; season with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the turmeric and red-pepper flakes to the vegetables and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Over the sink, pour the parboiled rice into a sieve, and then add it to the vegetables. Add the beans, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, smoked paprika, herbs, and black pepper to taste. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock and red wine, stir, partially cover, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover completely, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is completely soft and has released its starchy goodness, and the beans are creamy on the inside, about 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning as the soup simmers. Serve with lemon: the bright acidity is wonderful.

Photo shows a baguette sliced in half, smeared with a minced garlic/butter mixture, and run under the broiler.

Additions: Spinach (or any other greens), handfuls of fresh basil, or bit of bacon, some cubes of potatoes, barley instead of rice, perhaps some tiny slices of sausage, leftover shredded chicken, etc.

*I’ve made this soup with any rice I’ve had on hand: white jasmine, brown jasmine, long grain brown, and basmati. They all work. They’re all tasty.