Monday, 19 October 2009

Domatosoupa

Domatosoupa: If you split the word in two you will have domata, or tomato, and soupa, or soup. Hence, tomato soup. This soup tortured me throughout my childhood. Although I had no problem eating tomatoes, and although I especially loved them in a salad, there was something about the idea of having to consume liquid tomatoes that prompted me to consider running away from home. 

The worst tasting tomato soup I was forced to eat was the one made by a certain aunt whose name I will not disclose. I have innumerable blissful memories of my time at her home: running in the orchards with cousins and friends, riding horses, feeding chickens, bringing freshly laid eggs into the kitchen ... Yet, next to all the blissful memories, I have an unpleasant one that still haunts me: it's the memory of being forced to eat my aunt's domatosoupa. There was something acutely atrocious about her tomato soup. Horror of horrors, the woman never peeled her tomatoes before throwing them into the pot! During cooking their skins would separate, becoming an extra and unnecessary ingredient. At dinner, I would stare at pieces of tomato skin floating in my bowl and mockingly, they would stare right back at me ... it was impossible to eat a spoonful without swallowing those evil tomato skins! As they slithered their way toward my pharynx ... Well, I won't bore you with the details. 

Recently, while leafing through the pages of an old Greek cookbook, I came across a recipe for domatosoupa. I wondered if I should make it, just to see if I will like it now. I decided to give it a try, and I was pleasantly surprised. I loved it! But, after all, I cooked it without tomato skins.

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch of scallions chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1/4 cup orzo
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • a sprig of rosemary
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Directions
  1. Cook the orzo according to package directions until done "al dente," and reserve.
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and saute the scallions, celery and onion, until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook for two minutes, stirring.
  3. Add the all the broth and the rosemary and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and continue simmering for another 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. 
  5. Once the rice is tender, add the cooked pasta and parsley and ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and serve.