There are a few recipes in “Cooking My Way Back Home” that require smoking (like, smoke from wood chips, not cigarettes), but I live in a smallish apartment in San Francisco and don’t have room for a barbeque or outdoor smoker so I wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish these recipes. Then I found out about these nifty stovetop smokers http://www.amazon.com/Camerons-Products-Stainless-Stovetop-Smoker/dp/B00004SZ9D/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357498859&sr=8-1&keywords=stovetop+smoker Joe got me one for Christmas so I had to try it out. I decided to start with the most simple sounding recipe from the book - a smoked tomato bisque.
The first thing I did was add a small pile of hickory wood chips to the smoker.
Then the drip pan and grate are placed on top of the wood chips, and the halved tomatoes are placed on top of the grate.
I had to modify the recipe a bit for my stovetop smoker- this was made easier because the smoker came with a booklet that included a recipe for smoked tomatoes. It turns out the stovetop smoker works a bit faster than a bbq grill smoker…the cookbook recipe required smoking the tomatoes for 2 1/2 hours and the smoker booklet recipe only said to smoke the tomatoes for 15 minutes. I chose the 15 minute option.
Yes, a little bit of smoke escapes while you’re cooking, but if you have your oven fan on it really isn’t bad. Also, I think it smells pretty good. After 15 minutes in the smoker, the tomatoes didn’t look that different, but the skin was peeling off a bit and they smelled like a campfire.
I peeled & diced the tomatoes and combined them with more tomatoes (that weren’t smoked), onion, garlic, and thyme.
These ingredients are cooked for a little while, simmered with chicken stock, then blended in a food processor. A little bit of heavy cream is added at the end.
Of course we had to make some grilled cheese sandwiches to go with the soup! This turned out really great! Such a simple recipe with few ingredients, but the smokiness gives it a really unique character. It’s perfect to only smoke half the tomatoes because if you smoked all of them it would be pretty overwhelming. The grilled cheese dipped in the soup went together so well…dang this is making me hungry now.