Summer harvest: tomato chicken soup Provençal

Tomato chicken soup Provencal

Gardening without cheating is a lesson in patience and humility. By cheating I refer to all the dangerous technological measures we exert over the elements and living things. Honest organic gardening harmonizes with nature, accepts its lessons. Having given this preamble, I confess that the eight robust tomato plants occupying half my garden have only barely begun to produce tomatoes. Nevertheless for the sake of other gardeners with timely harvests, I will share one of my favourite summer recipes: tomato chicken soup Provençal.

The Golden Cherries were supposed to ripen at 64 days, Bonny Best at 75 and Black Prince at 90. They have all been in the ground for 98 days and the Golden Cherries have only begun ripening prolifically in the past week or so. I have plenty of plump green tomatoes, but no sign the others will begin ripening soon. As soon as nights start to cool below about 10°C (50°F) tomatoes slow their ripening powers considerably. That has not happened yet. Needless to say, I hope summer will press forward a few more weeks.

What have I learned from this? Do not delay planting tomatoes any later than necessary, and make sure they are well hardened-off. Hardening off is the process of slowly introducing seedlings to outdoor conditions. When I finally planted my tomatoes around June 1, 10 days late, they were fragile and stressed. It took them a good two weeks to recover and begin growing. When the fruit began to appear, rodents ate them off the lower branches where they would have ripened earlier. All I can do to prevent that is erect a proper fence. I will decide about that next spring if we stay in this house another year.

I was never a fan of traditional puréed tomato soup. In fact I did not like tomatoes at all as a child. I finally acquired a taste for them in my teens when I grew them myself. There is a fantastic difference between tomatoes fresh off the vine and the dry, insipid kind available in supermarkets. To this day I seldom eat tomatoes unless I have grown them myself. The ones that went into this soup came from the CSA of a friend who cannot eat tomatoes (thanks Lori!).

This recipe is one of the best ways to celebrate summer harvest. Most of the other vegetables and herbs came from our garden: onions, green pepper, basil, thyme and rosemary.

Onions and herbs from the garden

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Tomato chicken soup Provençal
Entree
4
 
Healthy, flavourful and chunky, this serves as a good main course along with crusty bread and Cheddar cheese. Experiment with different types of mushrooms for variety.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3½ cups tomatoes, chopped, pulp and seeds discarded
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onions, mushrooms, green pepper and garlic and sauté 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, stock and herbs. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 40 minutes.
  3. Add chicken and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

 Diced vegetables for tomato chicken soup


Comments

Summer harvest: tomato chicken soup Provençal — 3 Comments

  1. Looks delicious. I’m having the exact same problem with tomatoes. We had a cold wet spring, then it warmed up, and then ALL of July it was never cooler than 80 F/ 26 C, with many 100 F/37 C days in succession. And the rodent problem as well. I pretty much gave up and am just leaving everything in the vegetable patch as ground cover. And the drying winds are not helping our drought. Rotten year overall.

    • Sounds like you had it worse there, Joe. We finally had enough rain in August that the garden did not need irrigation. At least I’ve had lots of onions and zucchini, and fresh herbs to my heart’s content. But if I hadn’t used city water in July, the garden would have been a desert.

      • Likewise. Over the years, I’ve been phasing out plants that are water-guzzlers because it seems like our climate is growing drier. It’s certainly all or nothing in terms of temps and moisture! I try not to use city water either, because I think it makes plants dependent on it, but I will lose a lot of ornamentals this season, if I don’t. Even my prairie plants were looking distressed!

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