January Tomato Soup

My neighbor Jim enjoyed the January Tomato Soup.

My neighbor Jim enjoyed his January Tomato Soup.

National Soup Month is about to end—so here’s a quick soup recipe to warm your house and your body.
Like the Campbell company, I have always considered tomato soup one of the mainstays of an American larder.
The first known published recipe for tomato soup appeared in The Appledore Cook Book, an 1872 work by Maria Parloa (1843-1909).
An early supporter of home economics, Parloa lectured at the Boston Cooking School and ran versions of her own academy, Miss Parloa’s School of Cookery, in both Boston and New York.
She wrote regularly for the Ladies’ Home Journal. She also served as a spokeswoman for the Baker Chocolate Company and contributed to its recipe books.
The charming blog Maria Parloa describes Parloa’s teaching, which she called late in her life “a magnificent work for any young woman to take up.”
The Appledore Cook Book was Parloa’s first book and stemmed from her work as a pastry cook on the Appledore Island summer resort in Maine. Most sources I have found on the internet call her soup a “tomato chowder.”
I called the public library in Bethel, Connecticut, for more information. Parloa spent the last few years of her life in Bethel and left money to establish a library there. According to the library web site the town proudly houses copies of her works in its local-history collection.
I asked one of the reference librarians to read me the recipe for tomato chowder. I was told that Parloa’s creation was not in fact a “tomato chowder” but rather a “tomato soup.” (So much for research on the internet!) The librarian read it to me:
Tomato Soup
Peel and slice tomatoes enough to fill a two-quart basin; put them into the soup-kettle with six quarts of water and two pounds of beef; boil three hours; season with pepper, salt, and a spoonful of butter. Strain, and serve with toasted bread.
I may try this recipe in the summer when I have fresh tomatoes (although two quarts of tomatoes would be A LOT of tomatoes!). Meanwhile, I recently made a much quicker soup taking advantage of canned tomatoes.
Here is that simple recipe. It makes a versatile soup; if you have other veggies and/or herbs in the house, throw them in. Next time I’m trying a few carrots plus some cilantro for garnish.
Tinky's tomato soupeb
January Tomato Soup
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 cups canned tomatoes
2 cups salsa (the ingredients and heat are your choice)
2 cups chicken stock and 2 cups water (or 4 cups vegetable stock)
a splash or two of cream, milk, and/or half and half (optional)
grated cheese (optional)
Combine the onion, pepper, celery, tomatoes, salsa, and stock (or water or whatever) in a Dutch oven.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover it, reduce the heat, and simmer for half an hour. Allow the soup to cool for a few minutes; then puree it in batches in a blender. Add a little cream and/or cheese at the table if you like. Serves 4 to 6.
(Courtesy of the blog "Maria Parloa")

(Courtesy of the blog "Maria Parloa")


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4 Responses to “January Tomato Soup”

  1. Julie says:

    To this day, the grilled cheese and tomato soup combo that was one of my childhood favorites, remains one of my favorite meals. Mmmmm, mmmmm good!

  2. Douglas says:

    Why just January? Tomato soup is good all year round.

  3. tinkyweisblat says:

    True; I guess I wasn’t specific enough. In July we can make the soup with fresh tomatoes! In January they’re canned.

  4. Anne says:

    I don’t like raw tomatoes, but i do like homemade tomato soup – I usually make mine with onions, tinned tomatoes and a raw chilli/chile (or some cumin). To serve, I add freshly chopped basil.

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