heirloom·modern: Eldress Hall’s 1907 Tomato Bisque

20 Nov

Hmmm… It seems I should re-name heirloom·modern. Maybe, Heirloom Tomato Modern? Of the now five entries in this occasional editorial feature, three are for tomato soup. Why? I have no idea. Perhaps in the past tomato soups were more flexible, more interesting, more varied. Or, maybe I just really like tomato soup!

heirloom·modern: Eldress Hall’s 1907 Shaker Tomato Bisque

What was the occasion that called for yet another tomato soup? I had just pulled “the best thing ever to come out of my kitchen” from the oven, and while it was cooling I realised I needed a simple foil for this “best thing.”

Shaker Tomato Bisque

I didn’t feel like running to the market, my brain felt wibbly from hunger and exertion, I wanted something quick and easy. I poked my head in the fridge. Aha! A carton of Pomis! I poked my nose in The Best Of Shaker Cooking. Aha! A simple tomato bisque! (The Shakers are so reliable for simple, quick recipes). Et voila! Dinner was decided.

There are three recipes for tomato soup in this amazing book, but this one from Frances Hall intrigued me with its inclusion of baking soda.

Although she is not noted as being a member of the faithful at Hancock Village, this reference leads me to believe that Frances Hall was actually the last eldress of this beautiful village that is now a working museum (and definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area, A. because it didn’t bore me as a 7th grader on a field trip and B. There’s an amazing restaurant there).

And what of the baking soda? As near as I can figure it added a delicate lightness to this soup which would be very, very necessary if you followed the original recipe which calls for 1 quart of milk (most likely whole and with cream back then) and 1/2 cup of heavy cream! I did not follow those measurements and, after tasting the soup sans dairy and realising it tasted just like Campbell’s, embarked on some very necessary modernising.

I cut down on the dairy, added some garlic and tossed in some slightly spicy, seductively smoky Spanish pimenton de la vera. The pepper added such a lovely, almost bacon-y flavor. Utterly delicious!

Shaker Tomato Bisque

And what is “the best thing ever to come out of my kitchen?” You’ll just have to stay tuned til tomorrow (or snoop around on my flickr page, should be pretty obvious from there).

Head below the jump for my adaptation of Eldress Hall’s Tomato Bisque.

heirloom·modern: Eldress Hall’s 1907 Shaker Tomato Bisque

prep time: 5 minutes ~ cooking time: 20 minutes

  • 1 tsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Flour
  • 3 cups Tomato Puree
  • heaping 1/4 tsp Baking Soda (the recipe called for 1/3 tsp, but I don’t have one of those, so I just used a heaping 1/4 tsp)
  • 2 tsps Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • Lemon Juice
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp (or to taste) Pimenton de la Vera
  • 2 cups Milk

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Add the flour and cook gently for 2 minutes or until the flour is cooked.

Add the tomato puree. Stir to incorporate.

Add the salt, sugar and baking soda. Stir to incorporate.

Simmer 5 minutes.

Taste. Adjust seasoning. Add a dash of lemon juice if the soup is too sweet.

Add the minced garlic and Pimenton. Stir to incorporate. Allow the soup to cook another 10 minutes.

In another small pan heat the milk. Do not allow it to boil. When the milk is just warm add it to the tomato mixture, stir to incorporate and serve immediately, piping hot, preferably with some freshly made buttered bread.

And don’t forget to Shaker your plate! (Not that I have any fear you won’t!)

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9 Responses to “heirloom·modern: Eldress Hall’s 1907 Tomato Bisque”

  1. lobstersquad November 20, 2006 at 12:27 pm #

    I´m just about to make some tomato soup. Different version, but I´ll use your tip about the milk. Thanks.

  2. bloglily November 20, 2006 at 11:12 pm #

    great recipe! I’ve been looking for a simple tomato soup that’s a bit interesting and this appears to be both those things. Many thanks!

  3. sher November 21, 2006 at 2:38 am #

    I love the way this soup looks–the beautiful red color has my mouth watering.

  4. Lynn D. November 28, 2006 at 4:08 pm #

    I’ll bet this would be good made with goats’ milk!

  5. Dawn August 16, 2007 at 9:17 am #

    I’m guessing the baking soda is added to balance the pH and keep the milk from curdling. I have a yummy tomato soup recipe of my mom’s that includes it as well.

  6. Riatta December 3, 2007 at 5:52 am #

    Any chance I could see the original recipe as it was?

  7. ann December 3, 2007 at 8:10 am #

    Riatta — You can buy the book here for as little as $1 here, or you can check it out from your local library. I am not comfortable publishing other people’s copyrighted material on my site.

  8. Riatta December 4, 2007 at 8:18 am #

    Thanks Ann for the link. I’ve ordered the book. Can’t wait to see how you tweaked the recipe. I’m always a little afraid to eperiment.

  9. ann December 4, 2007 at 9:12 am #

    Oh good Riatta! I hope you love it. There’s so many great recipes in there.

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