Friday, April 15, 2016

Pressure Cooker Cream of Tomato Rice Soup

I've been on a tomato kick lately. Seems like everything I make has tomatoes in it - fresh tomatoes in salad, tomato sauce in a side dish, diced tomatoes in something else. I've been craving pasta with tomato sauce, but haven't made it yet.

So, when I made some baby back ribs by starting them in my Instant Pot, I saved the resulting broth and decided I should use it to make soup. Pork stock and pork broth don't seem to be very common, but my mom ALWAYS started her tomato soup with pork stock.

So, of course ...

I made tomato soup.

In the Instant Pot.

It was sooooo easy, it was ridiculous. I mean, I'm used to soups that simmer forever on the stove, but this was done in no time. Even the rice.

You might wonder why I use evaporated milk in this recipe. There are actually two reasons. First, it's thicker and creamier than if I used regular milk. More milk, less water, basically. Second, it's less likely to curdle than regular milk.

If the milk does curdle, it's not going to kill you. It doesn't actually taste much different. But you end up with little tiny milk bits that give the soup a less-smooth texture.

Curdling happens because you're mixing milk with an acid. It's what you do on purpose when you're making something like lemon cheese or a fresh farmer's style cheese. But it's not what you want to happen when you're making tomato soup.

Make sure you're using evaporated milk, and not sweetened condensed. If you use sweetened condensed, this will probably be awful. And then you will hate me and send me strange emails about your weirdly sweet inedible soup.

Pressure Cooker Cream of Tomato Soup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, peeled diced
1 teaspoon salt (to taste - consider whether your stock is salty or not)
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut in thin coins
1 quart stock*
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (tomato puree is also good)
1 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1/4 cup long-grain rice (I like jasmine rice)
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk (NOT CONDENSED!)
Fresh herbs, for garnish (optional)

*I like pork stock for tomato soup, but chicken or vegetable stock is fine - homemade or your favorite store bought. In a pinch, you can use water.

Melt butter on saute setting in the Instant Pot (or other brand of electric pressure cooker). Add the onion as soon as you have it diced. Add the salt. Cook, stirring once in a while. Add the carrots as soon as you have them sliced. Continue cooking until the onions are softened and no longer have their harsh flavor.

Add the stock, crushed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the rice on top. Close the Instant Pot and set for high pressure, 15 minutes.

When the time is up, release the pressure. It will be boiling furiously. Let it cool down a bit, then pour in the evaporated milk slowly, while constantly stirring the soup. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if desired.

Garnish with some thinly sliced basil leaves, or other fresh herbs of your choice, if desired.