Make Trader Joe’s Two-Product Seasonal Soup

Merchant Joe is very good at two things: supplying his frozen food department with an endless procession of new and interesting convenience foods, and producing new – some might say unnecessary – Thanksgiving and Christmas-themed items every holiday season.

But this is one of the most mundane frozen foods ever, frozen organic jasmine rice that has captured my heart recently. Rice is meant to be steamed directly in a microwave-safe bag, but I usually open that bag and add the rice directly to the boiling broth, soup, or stew to make it swell and more satisfying. This is probably not the most economical way to add rice to soup, but for someone who eats a lot alone, it is the most convenient way. (If I don’t need a whole packet of rice, I put the leftovers in the freezer bag and put back in the freezer.)

Jasmine rice isn’t the only frozen rice you can do this with, however. Any of their frozen rice, including aromatic “fried rice” and the like, can be added to one of their soups for a hearty, almost instant meal. This is true of their Chimichurri rice (which I haven’t been able to find for some time), and this is true of their newest seasonal rice offering: fried rice stuffed with turkey and sausage. All you have to do is take a cup of frozen rice mixture and add it to a pot with a cup and half of your favorite broth or soup (chicken broth, turkey broth, and tomato and roasted red pepper soup are good choices). Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until small sausage pieces are warm, stirring frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

The combination is savory and hearty, with small turkey meatballs, carrots, chopped green beans and corn. All the usual filling flavors are involved (rosemary, thyme, parsley, etc.). If you liked last year’s All But Leftovers seasoning mix, you will love this fried rice mix and then this soup.

Once you’ve combined and enjoyed this convenient pairing, you’ll likely start noticing other pre-packaged frozen mixes of rice, grains, dumplings, and pasta that you can simmer in hot broth for a hearty meal. Sweet potato gnocchi go very well with fall harvest soup, and any gyoza goes well with their miso ginger broth. Just don’t get attached to any one particular combination. Merchant Joe is also very good at getting rid of all of my favorite things. (Will I ever get better after Sir Strawberry’s cancellation? I highly doubt it.)

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