I’ve written before about what a huge fan I am of Ree Drummond, author of the Pioneer Woman blog. I admire Ree not only for her gorgeous photography, her authentic voice, and her delicious food, but also for not letting success go to her head. Whenever I’ve seen her at blog conferences, she is always the most down to earth and approachable person there, completely unaffected by the millions of readers who visit her blog regularly, drinking in the pictures of her ranching life. She loves her husband, loves her kids, loves her photography, loves her cooking and she blogs about it all. She is, quite simply, someone I want to be when I grow up.
- To begin with, chop the onion.
- Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven.
- Throw in the onion and cook until translucent.
- Now dump in the diced tomatoes and stir to combine.
- Add the tomato juice. I usually use organic juice because I want people to think, She’s cool because she uses organic.
- Next – and this is important – in order to combat the acidity of the tomatoes, add 3 to 6 tablespoons sugar. Now, you’ll want to start on the low side, then taste and add more as needed. Some tomatoes and juice have more of an acidic bite than others. (For what it’s worth, and I realize it isn’t worth much, I use 6 tablespoons of sugar. But I like a little sweetness to my tomato soup. So don’t listen to me.)
- Next, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of chicken base to the pot. I added 3 and it wound up being a little too much. But it’s a middle child thing… I’m always adding more, more more!
- Now you can add lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine, then heat almost to a boil. Then turn off the heat.
- Now! Here’s the nice little flavor that sets this soup apart. Add in the sherry, if desired. It’ll keep you honest – I promise!
- And now, people. It’s time to get serious. And it’s time to examine yourselves, and I mean that figuratively, for Pete’s sake: when it comes to heavy cream, are you a man or a mouse? I need an answer now because we’re about to add 1 1/2 cups of the stuff into our soup. And mmm… stir it together.
- Now chop up a handful of flat-leaf parsley. And really, I’m not opposed to the curly parsley. And actually, blind taste tests have shown that there’s really not much difference in taste. But flat-leaf is a little more texturally palatable, so if you can find it, it’s best. “Texturally palatable.” You know, I just throw these phrases out into the atmosphere and I have no idea where they come from. Or where they’re going. Or where they’ve been.
- Next, chop up a few leaves of fresh basil. (Well “chiffonade is the proper term… but that’s way too complicated a topic to inject into this simple tomato soup.)
- Now go ahead and throw in the parsley and the basil, and stir together. Next, take a whiff of this heavenly delight. Then faint. Then pick yourself up off the ground and grab your pepper mill again.
- I always set it to fine for this soup, and I really let ‘er loose. I love freshly ground pepper.
- Keep the soup warm and serve it on a cold day to people you love. The flavor will knock your socks off.