Vegetable Rice Soup with Sweet Ground Chile Pepper

This soup is incredibly hearty and healthy, full of beautiful vegetables, mushrooms and tender greens.

1 cup F&L rice blend
2 cups chicken stock
5 cups water
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup Cipollini onions, peeled and chopped
1 leek, roots and tough green ends removed, then chopped
2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced
2 cups French fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
1 cup dried wild mushrooms, reconstituted and sautéed (see enclosed method)
2 large handfuls combined red baby kale and Swiss chard leaves, torn
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sweet ground chile pepper
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

1. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until onion is soft and translucent and garlic is fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add in chopped carrots, leeks and potatoes and continue to sauté until vegetables are slightly softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add in the rice, chicken stock and water, seasoning with the fresh thyme and sweet ground chile pepper, plus sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

2. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until rice and vegetables are fully cooked and tender.

3. Turn off heat and add the wild mushrooms and greens to the soup, stirring to combine until greens are slightly wilted. Check for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper as desired.

Grilled Halloumi Kabobs

Dusted with sweet ground chile pepper and fresh parsley, these melty kabobs are wonderful served with roasted root vegetables for a satisfying vegetarian main course.

5 ounces Halloumi cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Pinch sweet ground chile pepper
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Roasted Root Vegetables (see recipe)
Wood or metal skewers

1. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high. (If using wooden skewers, place in a sheet pan and cover with water, and allow to soak while preparing the other ingredients.)

2. Thread cheese cubes onto the skewers. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper, then brush each kabob on both sides with the mixture.

3. Grill each kabob, flipping occasionally, until the cheese is golden.

4. Remove kabobs and from grill and transfer to a platter with the roasted root vegetables, laying the kabobs on top of the veggies. Drizzle the entire dish with the additional 1 tablespoon olive oil and then sprinkle with the parsley and a healthy dusting of sweet ground chile pepper.

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