Tomato and garlic soup

Known in French as le thourin, this recipe for tomato and garlic soup originated in the southwest of France, in a region known as Périgord. Aside from producing a delicious soup, this region also has particular significance for David and me, as we spent a good portion of our honeymoon driving around the countryside of Périgord. I’m a fan of the relative simplicity of the dish, both in ingredients and in preparation.

Recipe

from The Country of Cooking of France
Serves 2 to 3

1-1/2 tbsp fat or lard
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic coves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp flour
1/2 lb tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 liter water
1 bouquet garni
salt and black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper

Melt fat in a soup pot over low heat. Add onions and garlic, season with salt and black pepper and press a piece of aluminum foil down on the vegetables. Cover the pan and sweat the vegetables over low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t let them brown.

Stir in flour, add tomatoes and leave to cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Stir in water and bouquet garni, season with salt and pepper, and simmer gently, uncovered, until reduced by about one-third, 25 to 30 minutes. Let soup stand for an hour or two off the heat, so the flavour develops before serving, then discard the bouquet garni.

Musings

A few notes on preparation: This is a half recipe; however, I ended up putting in the original amount of garlic cloves (6 cloves) because David tends to like things nice and garlic-y. For those who may not be aware, a bouquet garni is a bundle of parsley, thyme and a bay leaf, and is commonly added to stocks, soups and stew for great flavour and aroma. Finally, I forgot to add a pinch of cayenne pepper.

I’ve made this soup a few times before and it’s a consistent favourite for David. It’s surprisingly rich, yet fresh–not too heavy, yet satisfying, making for a great lunch. This round of soup was quite peppery (I’d been quite enthusiastic with my peppering at David’s encouragement), but D enjoys the kick of the black pepper.

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