Tomato and Sorrel Soup with Lovage

This is a good tomato and sorrel soup. The lovage, if you can get it, gives it a very special flavour. Though lovage is one of the oldest herbs it does not seem to grow in very many gardens – perhaps because it grows about six feet high and is less manageable than the more usual herbs. I find it easy to grow and it has a strong, unique flavour which is good in salads and for soups and stews. If you live in the country you will be able to find sorrel growing wild in a field or in your garden – the leaves look rather like spinach and you can identify them by their sour taste. But if you live in a city and do not grow sorrel in your back garden or even in a window box, then as second best you can substitute spinach leaves and the juice of a lemon.

Ingredients

  • lb tomatoes – dipped in boiling water and skinned (700 g)
  • 15–20 sorrel leaves
  • 1 large potato – about ½ lb (225 g)
  • oz butter (60 g)
  • 1 clove garlic – crushed
  • 3 tablespoons tomato purée
  • about 10–15 lovage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 pint chicken stock (570 ml)
  • salt, black pepper
  • pints of water (845 ml)

Method

Chop up the skinned tomatoes in small pieces. Chop up the sorrel leaves very finely. Cut the potato into small cubes. Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan and remove from heat. Stir the tomatoes, sorrel and potato into the butter. Stir in the flour. Heat together chicken stock with pints water (845 ml), the tomato purée, salt, pepper and the crushed garlic. Pour into the saucepan with the tomato mixture and bring to the boil stirring once or twice. Simmer gently for about ½ hour. Chop the lovage leaves and add them about 5 minutes before you take the soup off the heat.

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