Today I enjoyed making a batch of this renowned soup from my own home-grown garden tomatoes! (Yes, I was so excited about them that I had to take a picture.) I was thrilled to be able to achieve a goal that I started last spring when I planted my tiny tomato plants and tended them though cold and hot weather. I'm hoping that next year I'll be able to enrich my soil, have better success than 50% tomato plant survival rate, grow a bumper tomato crop, and be able to make even more savory soup!
I will post the recipe to the best of my memory. I'll have to check with my mom tomorrow and make sure there are no glaring mistakes.
4 heaping quarts of tomatoes, cut into quarters or eighths
3 or 4 onions, cut into eighths
1 stalk of celery
1 bell pepper
a few cloves of garlic, if desired
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup olive oil or melted butter
1 tablespoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
marjoram, thyme, basil, oregano, or your favorite spices to taste (sorry, this is something else I do by "feel")
Bring the tomatoes, onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and bay leaves to a boil. Boil, stirring occasionally, about 10-20 minutes or until celery and pepper are soft and the mixture is very juicy. Strain. (We use what we call a ricer, an inverted cone shaped strainer that sits on a stand and comes with a wooden pestle-type-thing to force liquid though the strainer. It also forces some bits of the vegetables though so it's thicker than V-8.) ; ) Bring to a boil in a clean pot. Meanwhile, mix flour, oil, salt, and spices. When the soup is hot, whisk a large ladle-full of soup into the flour mixture until smooth. Repeat 2 or 3 times, then whisk the flour-soup mixture into the large pot of soup. Pour the soup into clean jars, seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes.
Just in case someone is tempted to feel discouraged as I rattle on about my soup-making adventure, I will add this confession: I neglected to vacuum and mop my floors. ; ) But I don't regret it. After all, the autumn harvest time only comes once a year, and we will be enjoying the fruit of my labours many months from now. The floors will wait until next week.
Update: for a couple of new variations on how to make the soup look at this post.