Monday, December 22, 2014

Poirot's Christmas and Tomato Soup

It's Christmas week, so why not celebrate with tomato soup mentioned in Agatha Christie's Poirot novel, The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding?" 

So Janet, formerly of the Mystery Playground Portland office, set to work to make tomato soup that would make Poirot proud. 

Here are the ingredients that you'll need:

  • Fresh tomatoes - 12 peeled and diced
  • Kosher salt - 2 1/2 teaspoons
  • Onions - 1 large onion, chopped
  • Garlic - One clove minced
  • Chicken broth - two cups
  • Basil - 1/4 of a cup fresh, chopped very small, a tablespoon dried
  • Pepper - to taste
  • Butter - 1/2 cup
  • Flour - 1/2 cup
  • Parsley - 2 tbsp fresh or one teaspoon dried
  • Celery - 3 stalks chopped
  • Sugar - 2 1/2 teaspoons
  • Thyme - 2 teaspoons fresh, 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • Bay Leaves - 2

Here's the passage from the book and like usual, Poirot is the one asking the questions:

"Why did you think that? His manner?"
"No, sir - not his manner exactly. He was very quiet as he always is. Never says much except good evening when he comes and goes. No, it was his order."
"His order?"
"I dare say you gentlemen will laugh at me,' Molly flushed up, 'but when a gentleman has been here for ten years, you get to know his likes and dislikes. He never could bear suet pudding or blackberries and I've never known him take thick soup - but on that Monday night he ordered thick tomato soup, beefsteak and kidney pudding and blackberry tart! Seemed as though he just didn't notice what he ordered!"

Now let's make our soup:

First you need to sauté the onion garlic and celery in the butter under slightly soft: 

While that's happening you can parboil the tomatoes, so they will be soft and easy to peel. 

In a large stock pot, place your chicken broth, cut up parboiled tomatoes, onion garlic and celery mixture and the other ingredients, including the herbs, but waiting on salt and pepper until the very end. 

Bring to a boil and cover and let it simmer for approximately two hours. This allows the ingredients to cook down. 

Next taste your soup. Now add salt and pepper as you like it. Saving this to the end ensures you won't use too much or two little. 

Now that your soup is done, you can pick up a good book and dig in. 

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