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Author Notes: Bill, my husband is anemic following chemo and radiation therapy. Butte MT is at an elevation where the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood is an issue which is compounded by the anemia. The temperature outside is 5 below zero and the wind is blowing snow curtains in front of our windows. Bill was craving a "hearty soup". I am glad his appetite is coming back. What kind of soup was I going to make with all kinds of leftovers in the frig? this does not take long to make as long as the ingredients are close at hand or pre-assembled. He loved it - so it must be good. —AnnaChacko
- 1/4 teaspoon Nigella seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds (Indian Grocery Store)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper (like the flakes you would use on a pizza
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh sliced ginger (very fine slices are essential
- 2 Finely diced Roma tomatoes
- 2 slices cooked Ham diced into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons cooked rice (Basmati)
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper finely diced
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 4 - 6 fresh curry leaves (2 Bay leaves can be used instead)
- 1 finel diced medium sized shallot
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic powder
- in a medium sized sauce pan heat the butter until barely smoking.
- Add the mustard seeds, nigella, red pepper, black pepper to the oil till the mustard seed starts to sputter.
- Turn the heat to low/simmer and add the shallot slices. Stir until the shallots are soft.
- Now add the ginger and garlic and stir until the garlic powder is golden and intensely aromatic. Take care not to burn the garlic. If it is turning brown or charred,quickly ad some water to the saucepan and this should cool the garlic down sufficiently and rescue the soup. If the garlic powder is over cooked, the dish turns bitter and your kitchen will smell of burnt garlic for a long time,
- turn the heat up and the diced tomatoes until they are incorporated into the oil and spice mixture. Once the tomatoes are no longer watery but take on a rich red color, you are ready for the next step
- Add the jalapeno, curry leaves/bay leaves to the saucepan and stir over a medium flame for 3-4 minutes. The fresh curry leaves should stay a bright green to retain the flavor.
- Add the diced ham and the rice to the mixture and stir over a medium flame for 3-4 minutes.
- add the beef stock and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. You can add water to make up the volume desired (for two bowls). This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week before you get to the final step.
- the final step is to slowly add half and half over a very low flame taking care not to let the half and half curdle (which it will do if the heat is too high). A great roaring fire and a nicely chilled gewurtzraminer is a great accompaniment to the hot soup.
- Serve hot with slices of buttered toasted focaccia bread. Enjoy and watch the anemia beat a hasty retreat!!