1 lb ripe roma tomatoes
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 med yellow onion diced (1 cup)
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 bay leaf
3 fresh oregano sprigs
2 fresh parsley sprigs
2 lemon zest strips, each 2 inches long by 1 inch wide
½ cup thinly sliced carrot
1 lb red new potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
½ cup diced celery, including the leaves
½ tsp salt or to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 ear yellow corn, husk and silk removed
¼ lb small green beans, trimmed and sliced 1 inch thick on the diagonal (1 cup)
Core and peel the tomatoes: Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Core the tomatoes and then cut a shallow cross in the opposite end. Put them into the boiling water for 20 – 30 seconds to loosen the skins. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of cold water. Using your fingers or a paring knife, immediately remove the skins. Cut in half crosswise and carefully squeeze out the seeds. Cut into small pieces. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium – low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and sauté, stirring, until translucent, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth and water. To assemble a bouquet garni, gather together the bay leaf, oregano sprigs, parsley sprigs and lemon zest strips and tie securely with kitchen string. Add to the pan along with the tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, celery and the salt and pepper to taste. Bring just to a simmer over medium – high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Firmly hold the ear of corn, stem end down, on a cutting surface and using a sharp knife, carefully cut off the kernels. Add the kernels to the soup along with the green beans and continue to simmer, covered for another 15 minutes.
Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve very hot.
Ok so that’s the recipe per the book. The notes in the cook book say to feel free to change up the vegetables as desired or by the season. Chick-peas or pasta can be added as well. It also says to be sure and not overcook this soup as it’s all about the freshness of the vegetables flavor.
So now for my notes.
Tomatoes – yes the fresh tomatoes are nice, but an awful lot of work. I have recently started using canned whole tomatoes (checking for the ones with the least amount of sodium, or no salt added.) I just slice the tomatoes into smaller pieces on a plate so I can catch all the juice and add them in along with the juice from the can. Since my recipe tends to grow I use one big can of tomatoes with the juice and then most of the tomatoes from a second can. I don’t add the juice from the second can though.
Broth – Again my recipe grows and I like it to have a higher ration of broth to water. I have been using at least a large can (49 oz swanson natural goodness, low sodium, no MSG) of broth and then filling that can about half way for the water. To be honest most times I end up adding more broth since I always seem to chuck in those few more veggies and well the recipe never seemed to have enough broth. It also helps if you’re going to freeze it to have more liquid.
The herbs and lemon – I always use extra and most times I don’t bother tying them together… I’m just lazy and the large sprigs are easy to pick out as you serve it up.
Carrots – Whole peeled baby carrots work great. I use 1 little bag.
Potatoes – One of my other most recent changes is to use sweet potatoes… yum – o! Besides tasting good, sweet potatoes have lots of good nutritional benefits. Ok I cant remember what benefits exactly, but I hear they are good for ya! 🙂
Salt – I don’t use in the pot, I leave that up to the individual to add to their bowl.
Corn – Sometimes I leave out because I’m lazy, I suppose you could use canned, I just never have.
Green Beans – Look in the produce section for the bag of already washed and trimmed ready to microwave ones. I use just over half the bag cut into pieces. Makes it so much easier!
And my last healthy secret that goes along with the sweet potatoes is Kale. Just take a bunch of Kale, trim out the big stems in the middle, slice into pieces and add into the pot for 5 – 10 minutes at the end. It’s another good for you yum – o! (ok yes I do watch Rachel Ray way too often… What can I say I love the girl, been watching her for years)
So there you have it, my best soup recipe. I know to some cooks this wont seem like much, but I love it and hopefully for those that are a bit challenged in the kitchen they too will have a nice easy dish to share with loved ones. Serve this up with some bread ( I like sourdough the best with it,) a little brie and a bottle of wine and you’ll be warm and happy.