This richly flavoured, chunky soup makes a satisfying starter or can be served for lunch with a well-flavoured cheese and some crusty bread. Canned tomatoes have a more intense colour and flavour than most fresh ones, particularly during the colder months, and need no skinning or other preparation for this soup.
To make mushroom and rice soup, replace the red rice with 75 g (2½ oz) long-grain white rice and use 75 ml (2½ fl oz) dry sherry instead of the white wine. After adding the sherry in step 2, boil until it has almost all evaporated, then stir in 350 g (12½ oz) finely chopped chestnut or closed-cup mushrooms. Cook for about 2 minutes or until softened. Pour in 750 ml (1¼ pints) chicken stock and 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the rice is tender. Serve hot, topping each serving with 1 tbsp soured cream and a few fresh tarragon leaves.
Camargue red rice, from the wetlands of the Camargue region in southern France, is particularly nutritious, having a higher fibre content even than brown rice. Like all varieties of rice, red rice is an excellent ingredient to include in a healthy diet, as it is high in starchy carbohydrate and low in fat. * Tomatoes, originally known as love apples and once used only as an ornamental plant, are now valued as an important source of vitamin C and beta-carotene, both of which are powerful antioxidants.
A * C, E, calcium, potassium