Summer Tomato Soup with Corn, Hominy and Okra

Southern cooks have dozens of ways to put corn, okra, tomatoes and green peppers together successfully. Here is another -- a brothy soup that takes a Mexican turn with the addition of cilantro, oregano, chiles and hominy. Serve with hot tortillas and a green salad for a light dinner, or as a first course, followed by grilled pork with tortillas, guacamole and a jicama or zucchini salad.

4  thick slices bacon, sliced crosswise in 1/4-inch wide strips
1  small onion, chopped
1  green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1  jalapeno chile, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican {oregano}
1/2 pound plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely diced
6 cups homemade chicken broth or 3 cups canned low-sodium {chicken broth} and 3 cups water
1/3 pound okra, stem ends removed, cut crosswise in 1/3-inch-wide slices
2 cups corn kernels
1 1/2 cups cooked hominy, rinsed if canned
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
 freshly ground {black pepper}
Cook bacon in a large, heavy pot over moderately low heat until it renders some of its fat, about 3 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno and sauté until soft, about 15 minutes. Add oregano, crumbling it between your fingers to release its fragrance. Stir in tomatoes and sauté over moderately high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, uncovered. Add okra and cook at a gentle simmer until it is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Stir as little as possible to avoid releasing the sticky okra juices.

Stir in corn, hominy and cilantro. Cook, uncovered, at a gentle simmer until corn is done, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and a good deal of pepper and serve.

Ease of Preparation: Easy

Preparation Time: 20-25 min

Cook Time: 1 hr

Servings: serves 4 to 6

Recipe By: Janet Fletcher

From:  Fresh From the Farmer's Market
Used with permission of Chronicle