Adapted from The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash

Yield: Makes 6 servings

• 3 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 4 cups)
• 2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 2 cups)
• 1 green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
• 1 medium onion or 10 scallions, chopped (about 11/4 cups)
• 2 to 3 cups bottled organic tomato juice
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed, or put through a garlic press
• 3 tablespoons (or more) Worcestershire sauce
• Kosher salt and pepper to taste
• Smoked Paprika
• Chipotle pepper or hot pepper sauce, to taste

• 1 cup croutons, to garnish
• 2 tablespoons fresh minced herbs (such as basil, thyme, or parsley), chopped

1. Peel the tomatoes by dropping them for one minute or so into simmering water, drain, cool and peel the skin off. Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally which exposes the pockets for the seeds. Use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds into a sieve set over a bowl to catch the juices. Use a spatula to press the seeds to release their juices.

2. Chop the tomatoes and cucumbers into ¼ inch dice. Wash and trim the peppers and scallions and chop into ¼ inch dice. Combine them all in a bowl.

3. Stir in the vinegar, garlic, tomato juice and reserved juice from the seeds and season to taste with the Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and chipotle pepper or hot sauce. This soup can take a considerable amount of seasoning. Taste the soup as you add more seasoning – and make sure to use enough salt as it brings out the flavors of the vegetables.

4. Cover and chill thoroughly, for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight. Adjust the consistency as desired with additional tomato juice and check the seasonings and add more as necessary. Optional: add chopped herbs. Serve in chilled bowls with thinly sliced cucumber rounds or croutons as garnish.