Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Carrying on a Soupy Tradition

When my parents were newlyweds, my dad persuaded my mom to make tomato soup from the jealously guarded family recipe passed down from my great-grandmother to my grandmother to my dad (and mom) to me. Not knowing the family significance of the precious recipe, my dad got my mom to give the recipe to someone else. Long story short, "leaking" the family recipe was an unforgivable "crime." Years of happily making better-than-Campbell's soup and zealously guarding the recipe passed, and we found out the the precious recipe was originally a clipping from a newspaper. How ironic. Now we aren't afraid to give it away when asked since it couldn't have been that secret in the first place. ; ) All I can say is families are interesting.

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.

Tomato Soup

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.


Tammie said...

the recipe sounds right. :)

some things are more important than housework.

Christina said...

Oh, good. I was hoping I remembered correctly!

Yep, housework is a good swervant but not a good master. ; )