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THE HOME COOK

A Comforting Tomato Stew

January 10, 1991|MARION CUNNINGHAM

There are some recipes I feel belong in every cook's files. This tomato stew recipe is one. It comes from a photographer named Linda Sue who used to be a chef, and still loves to cook. Her aunt, Fannie Scott, often made it for her during her childhood. Now she makes it when friends drop in at supper time, or when she's homesick, or when she's just hungry for something that tastes good.

We used to call this sort of recipe an emergency recipe, because even the occasional cook keeps most of the necessary ingredients on hand. This dish is at its best made with baking powder biscuits, but it is also good with dense white bread as a substitute.

A good supper menu with Linda Sue's tomato stew would be rye toast and a side dish of sliced cucumbers with a little white vinegar. For dessert, use the remaining biscuits, warmed and buttered with sliced fresh seasonal fruit. I would add whipped sweetened cream on top.

LINDA SUE'S

TOMATO STEW

3 slices smoky-type bacon, diced

1 red onion, chopped

4 cups stewed tomatoes or chopped fresh tomatoes

Salt, pepper

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste

4 or 5 Baking Powder Biscuits, broken in large pieces or 4 slices bread, torn in large pieces

1 teaspoon sugar

Heat heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or pot. Add bacon and onion and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often until onion is tender and bacon is slightly brown. Stir in tomatoes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often. Add broken Baking Powder Biscuits and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Serve hot or cold. Makes 4 servings.

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 2 8-inch cake pans.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and cream of tartar in bowl. Cut in shortening with 2 knives or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk all at once and stir just until dough forms ball around fork. Turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead 14 times. Pat until 1/2-inch thick. Cut into rounds with 2-inch cookie cutter. Place touching each other in cake pans and bake at 425 degrees 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 14 (2-inch) biscuits.

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