My eldest is mainly vegetarian, and we make this soup when we have chicken soup for dinner. This soup is hearty and tasty, and it really warms a family winter get-together. It is an adaptation of my grandmother's chicken soup, an old Jerusalem recipe.
Boil water in a kettle. In a cooking pan on medium heat, use 2 cups (about 500 ml) of boiling water, a very careful few specks of allspice, a bit of cinnamon stick, a quarter teaspoon each of thyme, marjoram, and sage, 1 vegetarian broth cube , and a quarter of a cup of rice. Ideally this is pudding rice, the round sort. However, any rice will do, but please avoid the pre-cooked rice, as you want it to be thickening for the soup. If you do not have rice, pearl barley will do. Add some dried peas too if you like – about half the volume of rice in split peas. Add salt to taste.
If you make your own fresh broth, that is perfect, even better. Use this instead of water and broth cube. If you are vegetarian, you probably are a caring and sensitive person. Make sure you use organic broth cubes if possible, and read the label – beware additives like MSG and colorants. There is too much controversy about these for us to be complaining putting them into our bodies.
Raise the heat while stirring till the mixture boils. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the rice kernels are totally open, a bit like a popped bit of corn. If mixture is too runny, let some more water evaporate.
Then sprinkle parsley all over the surface and stir into the soup.
The soup is now cooked. Shave fresh nutmeg onto it, or place in bowls and then shave nutmeg (or sprinkle nutmeg) onto the surface. Give each person half to a whole fresh lemon to squeeze onto their soup. A good substitute for lemon is lime. The soup is not complete without the lemon, so make sure you add it. Now, sit together with loved ones and enjoy!
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