If you’re like me, and you’ve been searching for savory recipes for your green, unripe, end-of-season tomatoes that don’t involve frying or pickling, you’ve probably realized they’re few and far between. And it’s no wonder why: In their immature stage, green tomatoes can be bland or bitter, too dry or too dense. On their own, they aren’t exactly culinary delights.
But once you simmer them in a luscious broth with a handful of aromatics and let the heat take the edge off their tartness, green tomatoes can become a star ingredient in a recipe. (Not to mention… bacon just makes everything better.)
This is a simple and comforting soup for the cooler days of fall. It’s rich and savory with a little tang, and it’s a new favorite that I’m putting in my garden-to-table rotation when I have more green tomatoes than I know what to do with. (My roasted green tomato salsa verde is another favorite.)
Note: If your tomatoes are pale green and feel very solid (signs of extremely young fruit), the soup could take on overly tart or bitter notes. The sour cream helps to temper the acidity a bit if you’re particularly sensitive to that, but you could also try adding a little sugar, to taste, at the end of cooking. I try to pick tomatoes that have been green for a while, or I leave them on the counter for a few days to let the acidity mellow out as the fruit starts to ripen.
Bacon, Chicken, and Green Tomato Soup
Makes 4 to 6 servings
4 bacon strips
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 pound green unripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3/4 pound new potato, finely diced
Sour cream, for garnishing
Crusty bread, for serving
In a stockpot over high heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Flip the bacon over and continue frying until nicely browned all over and charred on the edges. Drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate and reserve 2 tablespoons bacon grease in the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-high.
Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken thighs, chicken broth, bay leaf, pepper, cumin, and celery seed and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.
Add the tomatoes and potatoes and continue simmering until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
Crumble the bacon and stir it into the soup, or use it as a garnish for each bowl. Serve with a big dollop of sour cream on top and toasted crusty bread on the side.