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Sowerby Soup


Tomato and onion stewed in vegetable stock and thickened with oatmeal.

The origin of this soup is not known, but the low-cost ingredients and use of oatmeal suggest that it may be associated with 'The Thirsk and Sowerby Soup Kitchen'. This was a particularly active institution for distributing food to the needy, established in 1881 and operated from the kitchens of the Royal Hotel, Market Place in Thirsk.

This version known at least since 'Traditional British cooking' by Elisabeth Ayrton and Theodora FitzGibbon (1986)

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500 g tomatoes, peeled and thinly diced
800 g onions, chopped
2 litres water
1 tbsp oatmeal
salt and freshly ground black pepper
50 g butter
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Stir in the tomatoes and cook stirring for 8-10 minutes. Stir in half of the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 20-25 minutes. Puree the soup.

Bring the remaining water with the oatmeal to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8-12 minutes until thickened. Pour this to the tomato soup and stir until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for some more minutes. Check seasoning and correct if necessary.

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