Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tomato Bacon Soup, 2 versions

So, yesterday, one of my friends on facebook let me know about a project who was looking for non-gmo recipes for a cookbook. She thought it would be something I might be interested in submitting a recipe for.
It did sound pretty cool and I gave it a little bit of thought. I don't have a lot of money right now to work on some fabulous new recipe so figured I'd look back at some I've done in the past. Something simple and basic, but a little bit different. This one came to mind, though it would take a little bit of tweaking to ensure it would meet the non-gmo standard.
Of course, this time of year, up here in Alaska, good fresh tomatoes are hard to come by. Most of the hot house ones we get right now are just bland and tasteless, which is why we rely so much on canned tomato products particularly during the winter. So I had to sit down and to some calculating and some wiggling.
I do tend to grow my own tomatoes and peppers during the summer, and some years I have gotten very good yields. The last 2 years have not been quite so forthcoming, due to infestations of aphids, spider mites, and a flying foster dog who somehow managed, repeatedly, to overcome any and all barriers set in order to invade my growing window and kill about half my plants this last summer. I was so happy when that little dude got adopted.. lol
In the years I have good yields though, I have bottled or frozen my "spare" tomatoes. This is really the best method for ensuring that your food is safe, non-gmo, pesticide free, etc.. just make sure that you start with good seed.
Barring that, though, get the best product you can. If that means canned, well, I do it all the time because Alaska is, well, Alaska and some times, if you want variety, you take what you can get, especially for long term storage, but, always get the best you can.
Not a whole lot of pictures for this one.

Now, for the story behind this recipe:

A while back, Hubby was working on the slope and he came home from one hitch and wanted me to try making Tomato Bacon Soup. He'd had something similar up at work and thought it was good and something I should add to the menu rotation if we could figure it out. Well, we succeeded and he loves it.
I am going to include 2 versions of this recipe. First will be the original, and the second will be the non-gmo recipe submitted one. There are some differences, but both are very good.

So, here's what went in to it the first time:

1 can (large, but not huge family size type) Crushed Tomatoes in juice
1 can (regular) Italian style diced tomatoes (the kind with basil, garlic and oregano)
4 fresh tomatoes chopped, seeds, juice and all
6 green onions
a bit of green bell peppers
couple sprigs of fresh thyme (cuz I had it, if you don't have it you can use dried)

6 strips of thick cut pork bacon
6 strips turkey bacon

Put everything except the bacon in a pot and let bubble and boil til it all cooks down nicely. Run that all through the blender to puree it good and smooth.

I then split it into 2 batches (I am on a low salt diet and don't really like pork much, so I did the turkey version for me and pork for him. You are free to do as you want.) and then started frying up the bacon. I chopped it all up into small pieces and fried it til just crisp then added it and the fats to the soup. Stir well. I then let it sit until dinner time (about an hour and a half or so) then reheated to eating temperatures and served with garlic bread. It is good. I would probably add a bit more onion and bell pepper and maybe some mushrooms to it next time, but hubby thinks it's perfect the way it is. This is definitely going to be something we add to the regular monthly menu. 

And the second, up-dated, non-gmo version (always remember to check labels and verify the status of your ingredients)

For this recipe you will need:

2 quarts diced, seeded tomatoes - fresh or bottled (if bottled, make sure they are non-gmo. I do my own bottling of tomatoes I grow every year.)
6 green onions, chopped fine
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
basil, garlic, oregano and thyme to taste
salt and pepper to taste

6-8 strips of bacon, organic and uncured, pork, turkey or a combination of the two.
* optional:
additional onion
more diced tomato

Place everything except the bacon into a large pot and cook over medium heat. If using fresh tomatoes, you may need to add a little bit of liquid. (Stock or a nice cooking wine would add a nice flavor. I always have some home made chicken stock on hand.) Let this come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let it reduce by about a third, to a half, depending on how much liquid you had.
Allow to cool slightly and run it through your blender or food processor. You are looking for a smooth pureed texture. Return to the pot.

While the tomatoes are reducing, chop your bacon into rough pieces and fry until just crispy. If desired, add your mushrooms, and/or other items and cook those with the bacon.
Add the bacon, and, if desired, the bacon drippings, to the tomato puree. Return to simmer and allow flavors to come together.

Let soup sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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