Hello dear friends ~
I could live on this soup. Granted, it’s February in Maine, and living on soup might not be the craziest thing right now. But really, it is THAT good.
When it came to putting in the ham, I won’t deny that I did pause a moment. Dear reader, have you ever put ham into a pot of tomato soup? I surely hadn’t, and somehow it just seemed…wrong. But after eating this soup for lunch and dinner today, it won’t be the last time I start a batch of tomato soup with “a mess of turnips, carrots, and onions”…and a half pound of ham.
Here’s a photo of the recipe as it appears in the cookbook:
A FEW COOKING NOTES:
How much is “a mess”?
One of the reasons I chose to feature this particular soup recipe, is because it uses that charming old turn of phrase. My paternal grandmother and her brother used this language (for example, to “pick a mess of coltsfoot greens”), and so did my maternal great-grandmother.
As Tipper, over at Blind Pig & The Acorn explains, “a mess” was generally considered to be an amount sufficient for a meal.
That rather leaves us on our own to decide how much onion, turnip, and carrot is sufficient here. I went with two medium carrots, two small onions, and two turnips about the size of tennis balls. (If all you have available is the huge rutabagas that are often called turnips, I’d go with half of one.)
What type of stock or liquor to use?
I really do think that any meat or bone broth would work just fine in this recipe. I used chicken broth, because that’s what I had on hand.
What if you don’t have a big sieve?
I don’t either. Pressing the soup through a colander with a wooden spoon would be a pretty authentic method though. (See this illustration below from Miss Parloa’s New Cook Book, which mentions using a colander for straining soup).
Perhaps it was cheating a bit, but I used my circa 1940’s Foley food mill.
Why do we associate grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup?
(Not a cooking note, but something I wondered, and thought you might too.) The ever-helpful Food Timeline website does a lovely job of drawing that connection. In a word, school lunch. The fascinating timeline is definitely worth a read.
- 2 carrots
- 2 small onions
- 2 small turnips (about tennis ball sized)
- 1 stalk of celery
- 8 ounces chopped ham
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 quarts chicken broth or other stock
- 8-10 ripe tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Steam, or rather stew slowly, a mess of turnips, carrots, and onions, and also a stalk of celery, with half a pound of lean ham and a little bit of fresh butter over a slow fire for an hour or so.
- Then add two quarts of diluted stock or of other liquor in which meat has been boiled, and also eight or ten ripe tomatoes.
- Stew the whole for an hour and a half, then pass through the sieve into the pan again;
- add a little pepper and salt, boil for ten minutes and serve hot."
"Tomato soup is a much relished American dish, and is prepared as follows:
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 174Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 1817mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 12g