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Community Cookbook

The Barkers say: "This soup has become an early fall staple at the Magnolia Grill, and it is one of our more requested recipes. We suppose everyone needs another use for all those end-of-season green tomatoes besides frying them. This soup is equally successful chilled or hot, and you can modify the garnish depending on your preference."

5 ounces country ham, julienned
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced thin
6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 jalapeños, stemmed and sliced, with seeds
4 green Anaheims, stemmed, seeded, and sliced
2 green pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, and sliced
2 bay leaves
3-1/2 pounds firm green tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
1-1/2 quarts shrimp stock or homemade chicken stock
1 handful fresh basil leaves (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons Tabasco (or to taste)
salt to tasteIngredients for the garnish
country ham
1 pound crabmeat, picked over for shells, or 1 pound peeled, cooked shrimp, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup sour cream, thinned with 2 tablespoons milk
1 cup fresh tomato concassé, combined with 1/4 cup capers, chopped 1/2 cup scallions, sliced

1. Cook the ham in the vegetable oil until crisp and golden; drain, reserve the ham, and return the oil to the pot.

2. Cook the onions in the oil over moderate heat until soft but not colored. Add the garlic, jalapeños, Anaheims, pasilla chiles, and bay leaves and cook 5 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes, until the tomatoes soften.

4. Remove the bay leaves, add the basil, and purée in a blender, working in batches.

5. Season with lemon juice, Tabasco, and salt. Cool and reserve.

6. Gently reheat the soup over medium heat and adjust the seasoning. Place crab or shrimp in warm bowls. Ladle the soup into the bowl, and garnish with sour cream, tomato concassé and caper mixture, country ham and sliced scallions.

Reprinted from Not Afraid of Flavor: Recipes from Magnolia Grill, with the permission of UNC Press.

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