Eggplant & Rice soup in Homemade Breadbowl
What do you do when it is cold and snowing outside…Well, I can certainly tell you what I like to do; open the curtains so you can see the magical snow fall and cuddle up on the sofa with a steaming hot bowl of soup, with some nice crusty bread or maybe a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, depending on what time of the day it is !!! I’m sure most of you agree with me. So when Harini, the Sunshinemom of ‘Tongue Ticklers‘ announced this month’s Monthly Mingle – Soups, I was delighted. It seems like such an appropriate theme for this weather. Monthly Mingle is an event started by Meeta of ‘What’s for lunch Honey?‘. I have to say here that I’m an admirer and ardent fan of Meeta’s blog. If you haven’t been there already, you have missed out on a fabulous feast for your eyes!
This is a very simple and hearty Italian soup. Its a variation of the minestrone soup, is very easy to make and is almost fat free (just 1-2 tsp of olive oil). You could do this with whatever vegetables you have on hand, throw in some pasta instead of rice and use any seasoning of your choice. I chose to make it with eggplants as I have never used eggplants in a soup before. The rice and eggplant are a great combo in the recipe. I wanted to serve this in a bread bowl as my hubby is a big fan of soups in bread bowls, and I had never tried making them at home. So this was a pretty successful experiment. The bread bowl and soup were quite filling and it was a meal by itself. You don’t even need a salad to go with this.
This recipe has two parts, the soup and the bread bowl. Lets start with the bread. The bread bowls do need some planning ahead, but they get done in about 3-4 hours.
Bread bowls with Oats and herbs
Bread Flour – 3 cups
Ground Oats – 1/2 cup
Active Dry Yeast – 1 package(2 1/4 tsp, 0.25 oz)
Sugar/Honey – 1 tbsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Warm Water – 1 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Optional flavoring ingredients:(I used all of these)
Italian seasoning – 1 tsp
Garlic powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder/Cayenne/Red chili flakes – 1 tsp
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water. Let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.
- Add salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, red chili powder, oat flour and 1 tbsp oil to 3 cups of flour. Mix well and add the remaining water.
- When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth/saran wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hr to 1 1/2 hr. In cold weather, place your bowl near the room heater or just heat your oven on 200 F for 3 mins and switch off. Place the bowl with the dough in the oven.
- Punch dough down, and divide into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a 4 inch round loaf. Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 35-40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small bowl, beat together egg white and 1 tablespoon water; lightly brush this on the loaves. Bake for 25-30 mins, until dark brown on top.
- To make bowls: Cut a 3 inch circle on top of each loaf and run your knife along/in the circumference to cut out a cone. Scoop out centers, leaving 3/4-inch-thick shells. Fill bread bowls with hot soup and serve immediately.
Eggplant soup with Rice
Eggplant – 1 medium
Onion – 1 medium
Carrot – 1 medium
Green Pepper – 1 small
Garlic – 3 large cloves
Tomato puree/sauce(I use Hunt’s) – 3/4 cup
Rice(I use Basmati) – 1/2 cup
Bay Leaf – 1 no.
Thyme – 1 sprig or 1 tsp dried
Vegetable bouillon – 1 or Vegetable stock – 2 cups
Water – 3 cups (you could substitute with vegetable stock)
Cilantro/Parsley – a handful
Salt and Pepper – to taste
Red chili powder/flakes – 1/2 tsp(optional)
Lemon juice – to taste
Grated cheese(pepper jack/cheddar) – as required
- Chop all the vegetables.
- Heat oil in a saucepan and saute the onions until they turn translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, green peppers, eggplants and a little salt and pepper. Cook for about 4-5 mins.
- Add the washed rice, tomato puree, thyme and bay leaf.
- Cover and cook for about 20-25 mins, until the rice is tender. Adjust seasoning and consistency. Cook for another 5 mins and add the cilantro/parsley and lemon juice if required.
- Add some grated cheese on top of the soup before serving.