Archive | 4:35 pm

Nameless Tomato Soup – A family heirloom

26 Jul

Tomatoes are a wonderful summer fruit. They are amazing in a Caprese salad, fabulous on bruschetta, and great even on their own – straight from the garden -sprinkled with salt. But when you are fortunate enough to be able to grow tomatoes in winter (and that’s anyone in coastal NSW and further north) you really need a great cold-weather recipe to show them off.

This soup is legendary in our family. My Gran used to make it, and I was thrilled to find a copy in her collection after her death. It had been cut out of an old American magazine and was credited to Gary V Travers of Oakland, California.

After making it this week it was clear that Gran had made some adjustments to the recipe, primarily increasing the quantity of tomatoes. I’ve adapted the recipe to match her method – it’s a great way to use fresh tomatoes in winter if you have them, or alternatively you can use canned.

1.2 kilos ripe tomatoes
4 cups water
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup diced, uncooked ham
1/2 cup each of diced onion, celery and carrot
2 sprigs parsley, minced
2 slices green capsicum, minced
1 can consomme or beef broth
1 bay leaf
4 whole cloves
3 sprigs thyme
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch paprika
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

Peel the tomatoes by cutting crosses in the base, cutting out the stem part and blanching in boiling water. The skin should start peeling away after a couple of minutes and can be peeled off easily. Dice the tomatoes and set aside. In a large soup pot add butter to ham, vegetables and seasonings, and saute for 5 minutes. Combine all ingredients and cook slowly for 1 1/4 hours, adding water if necessary to increase liquid. Serves 6-8.

3 x 400g cans of tomatoes may be substituted for the raw ones.

Because of the ham, the beef stock and the seasonings this soup is heartier than your average tomato soup, or even a minestrone. It tastes even better after a day or so in the fridge, and freezes beautifully.