The ever-popular BLT takes a turn as soup


August 10, 1994|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Sun Staff Writer

"Are you ready? It's called bacon, lettuce and tomato soup."

Claramarie Trombetta of Timonium posed that question and answer in her request for a BLT soup recipe. She also noted, "someone told me about this recipe and swears by it."

Chef Gilles Syglowski chose two responses. One was sent in by Audrey Helmcamp of Baltimore. The other, an anonymous response, is similar but requires a bit less preparation.

Helmcamp's BLT Soup

Makes about 8 cups

2 pounds smoked ham hocks

12 cups water

12 bacon slices

3 medium celery stalks diced

1 medium onion diced

1 small green pepper diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, peeled seeded and diced

1/4 teaspoon chopped, fresh parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 cups Creole tomato sauce (see note)

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon minced fresh (or 1/4 teaspoon dried) oregano

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 pound iceberg lettuce, diced

dollop of mayonnaise

croutons (optional)

Boil ham hocks in water in large pot until reduced to 6 cups liquid. Skim fat off occasionally. Strain and reserve liquid. Remove meat from hocks and reserve. This can be prepared up to three days in advance and refrigerated.

Cook bacon in heavy, large pot until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of drippings from the pot. Add celery, onion and green pepper, cut in 1/2 -inch die, and cook over medium heat until softened and brown, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Add garlic and cook 3 minutes. Stir in cumin. Add tomatoes and parsley and simmer until mixture is dry, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Mix in sugar, salt and cayenne. Add reserved ham hock liquid and bring to boil. Add Creole tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, oregano and black pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add ham hock meat and lettuce. Cook until lettuce wilts, about 2 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls, crumble bacon over each and garnish with a dollop of mayonnaise. If desired serve with croutons.

Note: Ms. Helmcamp writes that she makes Creole tomato sauce by adding "garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper to taste in 4 cups of regular canned tomato sauce. It works well."

BLT Soup

Makes 5 cups

3 beef-flavored bouillon cubes

3 cups hot water

8 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/3 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup chopped celery

5 ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1/4 teaspoon dried whole thyme

1/4 teaspoon pepper

-- of hot sauce

2 cups shredded lettuce

seasoned croutons

Dissolve bouillon cube in water. Set aside. Cook bacon in large Dutch oven until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings and add onion and celery; saute until transparent, stirring frequently. Drain. Add bouillon, tomatoes and next 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes. Add lettuce and cook d dTC minutes or until lettuce wilts. Top with bacon and croutons. Serve immediately.

Recipe requests

* Betty Ireland of Perry Hall wants a barbecue like one once served at a "barbecue place on East 25th street. It was served with a cabbage slaw on top and with no tomatoes," she wrote.

* Donna Hinder of Aberdeen is looking for an appetizer which she and her husband had when they were in Kiawah Island, S.C. "It was called black-eyed pea cakes and was served with a tomato salsa on the side. And, I would like a salmon dish in which the fish was cooked in a grated potato crust. Both were delicious," she wrote.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a long-gone recipe, maybe we can help. Write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

If you send in more than one recipe, put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and phone number. Note the number of servings that each recipe makes. We will test the first 12 recipes.

Chef Syglowski, with the help of chefs and students at the Baltimore International Culinary College, tested these recipes.

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