Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hearty Tomato Soup (Like Campbell's Never Dreamed of)

In 1971, Francis Moore Lappé wrote a book, Diet for a Small Planet.  This book was one of the first critiques of grain fed meat production, arguing that it is wasteful and it contributes to global food scarcity.  (Although an avowed carnivore, I actually agree with the arguments relating to grain fed meat production and I try my best to buy only grass-fed beef.)  Lappé asked her readers to develop a new way of eating, focusing on what is best for both the Earth and one's body.  (I have to do a better job of working toward that goal.)

I have to be honest and say that I only recently became aware of Diet for a Small Planet.  Clare's parents were visiting us for a week.  They are both great cooks, and, one evening, they prepared a meal for Clare and myself.  The first course was a recipe from Diet for a Small Planet ... Hearty Tomato Soup (Like Campbell's Never Dreamed of).

Having never been a fan of Campbell's Soup, I can see why Lappé would add the parenthetical "like Campbell's never dreamed of."  This soup was very delicious and it was much better than anything that I have ever had from Campbell's Soup.  As for its preparation, Clare's parents said that they always use cooked rice rather than raw rice. On this occasion, they actually used some brown rice that we had in our pantry.  They also used whole tomatoes; however, they noted that, on some occasions, they add a little tomato paste.  The paste provides the soup with a deeper red color.  Finally, the garnish is their own creative contribution to the dish ... a couple of steamed asparagus spears and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  The garnish was the perfect way to finish this dish.

Frances Moore Lappé, Diet for a Small Planet at p.240
Serves 6

Oil, as needed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, choped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, chopped and smashed
2 teaspoons of of salt
4 white peppercorns or lots of reshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of basil
1 teaspoon of oregano
2 tablespoons of wheat flour
1 1/2 cups of cooked rice (or 3/4 cup of raw rice)
3 cups of milk, hot
1 tablespoon of butter
Parmesan cheese, grated, as a garnish
Asparagus spears, steamed

1.  Saute the onions.  Heat some oil in a heavy pot over medium high heat, saute the onion, garlic, celery and carrot until the onion is golden.  Add flour and stir until toasty.

2.  Add the rice.  Add the rice, stir and saute until the rice is a little toasty.

3.  Add the tomatoes and spices.  Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, oregano and basil. If you added raw rice, cook until the rice is done, about 45 minutes.  If you are using precooked rice, cook until all of the flavbors mingle, at least fifteen minutes.  Remove from heat.

4.  Blend the ingredients.  Puree all of the ingredients in a blender or you can run the ingredients through a sieve. 

5.  Add the milk and butter.  Add the milk and butter, along with more salt and pepper if need.  Warm the soup, but do not let it boil. Serve warm, garnished with the grated Parmesan cheese and asparagus spears.



Danice Girl said...

What does one do with the two tablespoons of flour?

Keith Bolek said...

Add it after sauting the vegetables at step one. I inadvertently ommited that from the post. I have corrected it. Thank you for your comment.

Theresa Huston said...

This is an all time favorite soup recipe. My Grandma, a huge fan of the book mentioned above, has made this recipe since the early 70's. I miss my Grandma and her soups, and this one in particular. Searching for this recipe brought me here today. Thank you for sharing. Oh, the nostalgia!

C19RN said...

I have a torn original paperback of Diet for a Small Planet. . There are several recipes that are stands out that I made as a young wife, then for my kids, and now for my second husband. The Monastery Lentil is a great one and can be found online as well.
I appreciate being able to find this recipe online. Bon appetite!

look at this site said...

Thanks for the recipe.This looks interesting and I would like to try this recipe as well.

LAXMAN said...

Your article is very helpful for me.

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