Diane Mayes recently wrote in with a request for tomato-based soups. This week we have two recipes: Helen Pitura's thick lentil-tomato soup and Kathleen Blythe's fresh tomato soup, which is taken from the Harrowsmith Cookbook, Volume 1. Both will come in handy for cooks with big tomato crops. And with soup season underway, I hope to feature more recipes in the coming weeks.
Anna Desiatnyk wrote in for her mother-in-law, who's hoping for a recipe for Swedish meatballs, made in large quantities and suitable for freezing, that was featured in the Free Press a few years ago. If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.
Red lentil soup
500 ml (2 cups) whole dried red lentils
75 ml (1/3 cup) dried pot barley
2.5 l (about 10 cups) reduced-sodium beef broth
450 g (1 lb) lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 x 798-ml (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
2 ml (½ tsp) salt
1 ml (¼ tsp) pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
In large stock pot or Dutch oven, combine lentils, barley and beef broth. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. In large frying pan over medium heat, stir and cook ground beef until juices run clear. Add beef, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, tomatoes and seasonings to stock pot. Break up tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and soup has thickened. Remove bay leaf and serve.
Tester’s notes: This is an easy, hearty and very satisfying soup. I used split red lentils, but you can probably track down whole lentils at a bulk foods store. I might just soften up the vegetables a little by frying them after I finish the beef — I found they were still a bit crunchy even when the soup had cooked up and thickened.
Fresh tomato soup
125 ml (½ cup) chopped onion
60 ml (¼ cup) butter
60 ml (¼ cup) flour
250 ml (1 cup) water (or chicken broth)
6 medium tomatoes, diced
15 ml (1 tbsp) minced parsley
6 ml (1¼ tsp) salt
1 ml (¼ tsp) pepper
2 ml (½ tsp) thyme leaves
1 bay leaf lemon slices, to garnish
In a 3.5-litre (3-quart) saucepan over medium heat, cook onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually whisk in water or broth. Add tomatoes and parsley, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf and heat until boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often. Discard bay leaf and garnish with lemon slices before serving.
Tester’s notes: This is a simple, fresh-tasting soup, which achieves a rich taste and smooth texture without dairy.
Kathleen often doubles or triples the recipe, and sometimes add hot sauce or whatever appeals to her. She always uses chicken broth instead of water for more flavour. If you’re going for a vegetarian option, you could use vegetable broth.
Be sure to stir when the soup is simmering: The flour content means the soup can scorch pretty quickly. In fact, I might cut back slightly on the flour, as my soup was almost too thick.