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When tomatoes are in season and you have bushels to spare, make a few batches of this tomato soup base. Freeze or can it, and add ingredients to transform this soup into myriad flavors.
Yield: About 1 quart
- 2 T. olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4 ounces smoked ham, diced
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 pounds tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. dried marjoram
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
In large pot, heat olive oil, and add garlic, celery, onion, bell pepper and ham. Sauté until vegetables release liquid and start to appear brown. Add wine, scraping all browned bits on the bottom of the pan, and cook until reduced by half.
Add tomatoes, bay leaf, marjoram, salt, thyme and pepper. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until tomatoes fall apart and flavors meld.
Cool, remove bay leaf, and purée soup in food processor until smooth. Use immediately, or divide into containers to freeze. If storing in glass canning jars, leave about 1 inch of headroom for expansion. You also can use plastic freezer bags (leave room for expansion, and squeeze out as much air as as possible). Use soup within four to six months.
Excerpt from Tasty Tomatoes, part of the Popular Gardening Series, with permission from its publisher, BowTie, Inc. Purchase Tasty Tomatoes here.