Cooking Classes


Heirloom Tomato Soup a la Provençal

My farmer friend, Bill, brought me about 20 pounds of heirloom tomatoes yesterday. He has an interesting organic farm nearby. 'Make what you can,' he says. This has a wonderful depth of flavour.

I chose the box of yellow tomatoes for this recipe and it is lovely.  I have large red ones called Flin Flons and some small red tomatoes and a few Romas.

This recipe is adapted from one I found in Gourmet 2006.

Heirloom Tomato Soup a la Provençal

    4 lb tomatoes
    1 medium onion, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise (2 cups)
    1 large carrot, coarsely grated
    1 celery rib, finely chopped
    2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
    3 (3- by 1-inch) strips fresh orange zest, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
    1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
    2 bay leaves
    2 tablespoons lovage, roughly chopped
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 cups water
    2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 fl oz)
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    Pinch crumbled saffron threads
    1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
    1/4 cup wild rice

Cut a shallow X in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife. Blanch tomatoes in batches of 2 or 3 in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling water 10 seconds, transferring with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking.

Peel tomatoes, then halve crosswise. Squeeze halves gently, cut sides down, over a sieve set over a bowl to extract seeds and juices, then press on seeds and discard them. Reserve juice and tomatoes.

Cook onions, carrot, celery, garlic, zest, thyme, red-pepper flakes, fennel seeds, and bay leaf in oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes with reserved juice, water, chicken broth, salt, pepper, saffron, wild rice and 1 teaspoon sugar, then simmer, uncovered, stirring and breaking up tomatoes with a spoon occasionally, until rice is cooked, 40 minutes. Discard bay leaf and add sugar and salt to taste.


  1. GOod golly, I love tomato soup. Lovely recipe, Sarah. I think the orange peel addition is brilliant!

  2. What a different recipe that i am certain is delicious..Lucky you and all those tomatoes!

  3. Tomato soup is my very favorite....just need to add a toasted cheese sandwich and I will be transported to days gone by...

  4. It's not at all the "right" color for tomato soup, but it sounds heavenly! I wish I had 20 pounds of heirloom tomatoes!


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