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Monday, March 25, 2013

Quick Tomato Stew


Quick Tomato Stew

Adapted from a recipe by cookbook author Marion Cunningham
Serves 4-6

4-5 strips smoky-style bacon (or as much as you want to use)
1/3-1/2 c chopped ham (optional and amount can vary)
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 28-oz can stewed tomatoes, including juices in can (or two 14-oz cans)
2 /3 c tomato juice (you can substitute with 2 T tomato paste and ½ c water)
1 ½ teas sugar
¾ teas salt
pepper to taste
3 slices white bread, torn or cut into bite-size pieces (if you are cooking this quickly, crumble the bread)

Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook in a large saucepan over medium heat until slightly browned. Add onion and turn heat to medium-low and cook until soft. Reduce heat if needed to stop over-browning. (If mixture is starting to burn, add a tablespoon of water.)

Add the tomatoes and juice (or substitution), sugar, salt and pepper. Stir. If the chunks of tomato are large, you can mash them with a fork as they cook. (I found that Hunt’s brand had lots of tomato cores in it so I will avoid it.) Raise heat and bring to a low boil. Then lower the heat to medium low and simmer for several minutes.

Add the pieces of bread and cook, mashing the bread into the juices. The bread will absorb some of the juice and thicken it. The longer this simmers, the more the bread melts into the “broth”. You can either let it cook 15-20 minutes (or longer—you might have to add some more water if it gets too thick) or you can cook it 5-10 minutes if you need it quickly.

This tastes great with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Note: I've found that I can use other crushed or diced tomatoes and I've blended tomatoes to make the juice. I think the key is to have at least 4 c tomatoes and juice. I've also used some roasted tomatoes that I have frozen. You don't have to skip this recipe because you don't have the specific ingredients.

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