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Green Tomato Soup

['2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil', '2 oz thinly sliced Black Forest ham, chopped (1/2 cup)', '1 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (from 1 bunch)', '1 tablespoon chopped garlic (2 cloves)', '1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf', '2 lb green unripe tomatoes, chopped', '1 cup low-sodium chicken broth', '2 cups water', '1/2 teaspoon salt', '1/4 teaspoon black pepper', 'Garnish: sour cream (optional)']

Heat oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook ham, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add scallions, garlic, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are tender and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add tomatoes, broth, water, salt, and pepper and simmer, partially covered, until tomatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf and season soup with salt and pepper.

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