Every once in a great while you find yourself with leftover rice in the fridge but no craving for a stir-fry. What is one to do?! Why create a soup, of course! Most of my recipes are born out of random ingredients laying around in my fridge, like half a can of tomato paste, a handful of fresh herbs, a glass of wine (the sin!) or in this case, leftover cooked rice. I looked around and saw the leftover rice, some cooked chick peas, a small can of tomato sauce and the squeaky wheels started turning in my head. I happened to be in Puerto Rico at the time and had access to my favorite herb on the planet, culantro (known as recao in Puerto Rico and ngò gai in Vietnam). Though different than its Puerto Rican incarnation, culantro is more fragrant that cilantro, with a pungent aroma and taste. I was able to locate some at a Vietnamese market in Portland labeled as “ngò gai” and “Vietnamese parsley”. I assure you the search is worth it. You can substitute cilantro in this recipe if culantro is not available.
Chick Pea Rice Soup
2 tbsp of olive oil
1. Warm olive oil in a soup pot. Add onions, celery and salt. Stir and cook until fragrant. Add garlic and cook for an additional two minutes. Splash 1/2 cup of water or vegetable stock in pot to deglaze vegetables.
2. Add remaining water or vegetable stock and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil. Add chick peas and reduce heat. Simmer until broth is fragrant and flavors are combined.
3. Add rice and corn. Cook for an additional five minutes then add fresh culantro. Turn off heat. Season with cayenne or chipotle pepper powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Servings: 4-6 bowls