Introduction: Zesty & Creamy Lemon Rice Soup
Meatless eh? First thing that popped into my head was a soup I stumbled upon in a restaurant a few years back. The restaurant was a little breakfast-lunch cafe that only seated 28 people & was only open until 2pm. While it didn't look like much, I braved it one day... & have never regretted it!
This cafe was two blocks away from a high school, so during the week, the lunch hours were packed with orders for fries, gravy, poutine, & chicken finger while the weekends were a fight to get in for a table for breakfast or lunch! The owners were retirees who got bored with retirement. Chuck used to be a professional chef & everything was made from scratch. His soups were superb! Tomato was my second favourite only beaten by his lemon chicken rice.
Chuck guarded his recipes carefully so I had to experiment a lot but eventually I figured out some variations I liked. I say 'variations' because rarely do my concoctions turn out the same -- mostly due to the fact I rarely write my recipes down! This was the first time I made this meatless variation & was quite pleased with it.
Now do not feel 'locked in' to my ingredients... if you don't like something, skip it, or better yet substitute something for it... just have fun & enjoy!
12 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water + 8 cups boiling water (see Final Thoughts at end)
4 medium lemons, juiced (note: if you don't like a strong lemon flavour use 1-2 lemons instead)
3 large carrots, finely processed/shredded (or diced)
4 large celery stalks, finely processed/shredded (or diced)
1 small yellow onion, finely processed/shredded (or diced)
2 cups (uncooked) white jasmine rice
1 tbsp fresh cut lemon thyme
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp dill
1-1/2 tsp paprika
12 egg yolks
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
Step 1: Get Started!
Slice lemons in half. If a lemon slice garnish desired, cut a few very thin slices off & set aside before juicing the lemons. If lemon zest garnish desired, grate leftover lemon peels with a fine grater & set aside.
Prep carrots, celery, & onions.
Cook rice. I used a pressure cooker with equal amounts rice & water. It took five minutes to cook plus the time to depressurize. I recommend making rice more fluffy/wet to reduce the amount of liquid it steals from the soup when later added (a mistake I made). Set aside for now.
- Bring 12 cups of water to boil & add vegetable stock mix or bouillon cubes as per instructions (on Knorr packaging).
- Add lemon juice.
- Add carrots, celery, & onions.
- Add lemon thyme, oregano, pepper, paprika, & 1 tsp dill.
- Stir & bring mixture to a boil again before turning down to low simmer for at least twenty minutes.
Step 2: Thickening
While Step 1 ingredients are simmering, melt butter in a sauce pan. Slowly add flour, stirring constantly, until thickens without clump. Add this mixture to soup mix & simmer additional ten minutes while stirring thoroughly.
Now whip the twelve egg yolks* until lightens in colour some. Then repeatedly add small amounts of the hot soup to the yolks, mixing constantly. The key here is to slowly add the heat to the egg yolks to gradually warm them otherwise one risks scrambling the yolks versus using to thicken/make the soup creamier. Once the yolks are thoroughly tempered, add this mixture to the soup, stirring constantly. Note: I added approximately two cups soup (in total) to the yolks before I felt safe to add them to the main soup mix.
*NOTE: I do not consider eggs to be a meat as meat is the 'flesh' of an animal. An egg is a byproduct of an animal's bodily function (as is honey from a bee). Had this been a full fledged vegan contest, I would have used margarine versus butter & substituted approximately 3 tbsp coconut milk + 1 tsp baking powder per yolk.
Step 3: Bringing It All Together!
Finally, add the rice to the soup mixture & heat to serving temperature.
Now, if a garnish is desired, use the set aside lemon slices, lemon zest, &/or dill -- or whatever you think will make it look great! Of the garnishes I tried, I think the dill looked best...
Step 4: Final Thoughts
After I added the rice, the soup looked great -- at that point. Half an hour later when my wife got home for supper though, the amount of rice I added had turned my glorious soup into a 'rice stew'!
It still tasted good but wasn't what I wanted. So one could eat it as a stew (or can fix it as follows shortly)...
Additionally, I left out in my ingredients list that I added salt -- which made it too salty -- likely due to the fact I used vegetable bouillon to make the broth (something I usually don't do as I usually make broth from chicken or beef bones).
Fortunately, fixing was easy. One could either cut back the rice used or, better yet, (as in my case because of the salt), simply bring another eight cups of water to a boil, add it to the mixture, stir thoroughly & periodically for half hour prior to serving. In the end, the extra water , softened the strong lemon flavour slightly, diluted the sodium (always good), & turned it back into a soup!
Next time, I think I'll use fewer carrots (& cube them to keep my kids happy)...
Participated in the
Meat Free Meal Challenge