French Rice Soup

Posted in - Mrs C.S. Peel's Recipes & Vegetarian on October 10th 2013 0 Comments

Lunch today was unplanned.  Often when I am alone I don’t have any, or sampling the recipes which is my every day task, is enough.  My husband turned up unexpectedly and I opened The Daily Mail Cookery Book, 1922, in the hope that inspiration would pop out of the page…. and it did!  We had Rice Soup.   Again, I am excited by another recipe!  It reminds me of what in my distant memory, I remember the Indonesians eating for breakfast.  There are so many variations using different stocks, adding different toppings such is fried garlic and onions with chicken stock version, and so on.  This is comfort food, perfect for the cold day we have today.

I realise the story is very different now and that London has one of the most interesting and diverse food cultures in the world.  Dorset, where I am, offers wonderful organic and free range ingredients, and their is a very strong demand high end food. Historically however, the English have not had a good culinary reputation and I do not fully understand why, other than margarine being suggested far too often.  These recipes which are a century old, and more, really are good and worth repeating again and again.

In the words of Granny Dot:

‘Slow heat. Time, about 40 minutes.
Ingredients. – 2 ozs. rice; 1 onion; 2 cloves; 1 oz. fat; 1 1/2 pints of vegetable or cereal stock; 1 gill milk; 1 oz. cornflour; grate of nutmeg; salt; pepper.
Method. – Wash the rice in several waters.  Drain.  Melt the fat in a pan, and add the rice, stir in the fat, for 5 minutes, but do not brown; add the stock; bring to the boil; skim, add the peeled onion into which the cloves are stuck.  Simmer gently till the rice is soft.  Blend the cornflour with the milk and add. Boil 10 minutes, stirring well. Remove the onion and cloves, season, add thenutmeg, serve in a hot tureen.
Reasons for failure. – If the soup is not stirred the rice may sink to the bottom of the pan, and burn.  If not stirred until boiling after adding the cornlour, it will become lumpy and may burn.’
(The Daily Mail Cookery Book, 1922, Mrs C.S. Peel)

1 oz/28g butter
2 ozs./56g rice
1 1/2 pints/750mls vegetable stock
1 gill/142mls milk
1 oz/28g cornflour
Nutmeg, grated

1.  Melt the butter and add the rice. Stir over a medium low heat for up to 5 minutes but make sure it does not brown.
2.  Add the stock off the heat as it will bubble up, and bring it to simmer until the rice is soft (about 20 mins).
3.  In the mean time, whisk the cornflour and the milk together in a bowl or jug and when the rice is soft, add it to the pan.
4. Simmer for about ten minutes and stir as well as the rice will catch on the bottom of the pan.
5.  Serve with nutmeg grated on top.


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