Thursday, October 1, 2020

Mark Bittman’s Fresh Tomato Rice Soup

LUCY BURDETTE: If it’s too late for the fall tomatoes in your garden or farmer’s market, save this recipe for next year—it’s just that good. These days I’m really enjoying The New York Times Cooking app. You can browse by ingredient or course or author, and save what you like to your recipe box. And they often make interesting suggestions based on what you’ve browsed and saved. 

On this particular day, I was desperate to use some of the tomatoes from our garden. (I admit to being a slug with the garden this year due to deadline haze, so John has carried the load.) And I wanted to make it easy—that is, no peeling, no chopping for days, etc. (I prepared the veggies almost entirely in my food processor.) This recipe from Mark Bittman called to me, and John and I both agreed it was delicious! I will make it again and freeze for a day when the tomatoes are only a sunny memory.

Mr. Bittman suggested using water or vegetable broth as the base for the soup, but I subbed organic chicken broth for a little more flavor. We found it didn’t need salt, but say yes to freshly ground pepper.


1 box good chicken broth
2 onions (I used one yellow, one red)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup brown rice
2 cups fresh tomatoes
4 carrots
2 stalks celery
Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
Olive oil
2 handfuls arugula

In your food processor, grind the onions, carrots and garlic, and then saute them until soft in some olive oil. Add the chopped celery. When the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown, make a space in the middle of your pan, add more olive oil and the rice and cook that a few minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir that in. 

Meanwhile, core the tomatoes, cut them into chunks and whirl in the processor until almost smooth.

Add the puree to your pan with the chicken broth and simmer until the rice is almost done. (Maybe half an hour for brown.) Add the red wine and arugula (could use any greens such as spinach or kale) and simmer another fifteen minutes. Taste for seasoning and enjoy, with or without grilled cheese. This is so so so much better than tomato soup from a can!

Did your family serve tomato soup with grilled cheese as a comfort food? Mine never did, but I'd take that meal any day using Bittman's soup!

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mystery series, featuring fiesty food critic Hayley Snow. THE KEY LIME CRIME is available now!

You can order it at an independent bookstoreBarnes and Noble, Amazon, and anywhere books are sold!

"Hayley and Nathan make an appealing pair, and the food descriptions and Key West atmosphere are equally enticing—a sure bet to draw readers of foodie mysteries."


And super-psyched to see the new book chosen for one of the best new books in Woman's World!

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  1. This looks great! (And I still have a gajillion tomatoes in my garden.) Gonna make it for sure! Thanks, Lucy!

  2. This does sound perfect.
    Can you clarify what you mean by "core the tomatoes"? What constitutes the "core" of the tomato? Coring an apple means taking out the seed area. If you cut out the seed area in a tomato there isn't much left but skin.

    1. I wasn't clear enough, but I took out only the dark parts around the stem. Everything else can go right in the processor. Thanks Libby!

  3. Congratulations on the Woman's World spread! The soup looks really good. Sadly, our tomatoes this year weren't as plentiful as in the past, so no soup or sauce. Maybe next year.

  4. Wish you would add just the recipe (no photos) so it would be easy to cut & paste.