No matter the weather or season, any time is a great time for tomato soup. There’s something comforting and restorative about a warm bowl of tomato soup — homemade tomato soup, that is. For me, it’s one of life’s simple pleasures. This version in particular is so easy to prepare that you’ll be on your way to culinary bliss in no time.
When I first found this recipe and saw some of the main ingredients — tomato juice and chicken base — I worried that it would turn out tasting like something grandma would made or simply like I’d opened a can of Campbell’s (which is decent, but like I said, homemade simply tastes better). Turns out the ingredients totally work — the juice gives it added tomatoey oomph and the chicken base is a shortcut to using broth, which one would have to simmer for ages to achieve the same flavor.
The result is a pinkish-hued bowl of comfort to be served warm or piping hot (depending on your mood and the weather outside). I like to stir in chopped herbs like parsley and basil just before serving for a pop of color and flavor. As for the sherry, Ree used cooking sherry, whereas I prefer to use real sherry wine.
Sherry is a fortified wine that originates in Jerez (“Sherish”), Spain, and is typically served as an an aperitif used to “finish” and add flavor to dishes. I go by the old adage on cooking with booze: “If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.” Cooking sherry is a version of sherry which has been treated with salts and other additives so that it can be stored in the cupboard at room temperature. While this is all well and good, I’m not a fan of its flavor and prefer using standard dry (not sweet) sherry wine in its place. Don’t have sherry on hand? Not a problem. Try substituting a cup of dry red or white wine for the sherry — just add it before you throw in the tomatoes to let the flavors meld while they’re simmering together — or leave it out altogether.
Feel free to get a little creative with this recipe and personalize it as well. For added flavor, try throwing in a teaspoon or two of fresh, chopped rosemary or thyme when sweating the onions. Don’t want to use the cream and/or sherry? Not a problem. Try substituting a cup of dry red or white wine for the sherry; just add it before you throw in the tomatoes to let their flavors meld while they’re simmering together.
Not only is this tomato soup approachable for any cooking skill level, it’s perfect for a weeknight meal, as it only takes minutes to throw together and you can get it on the table in a flash. Serve it alongside a gooey grilled cheese sandwich and call it dinner.
Creamy Sherried Tomato Soup with Herbs
Makes 6-8 servings
Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 46 oz. bottle tomato juice
2 cans diced tomatoes (14 oz. cans)
1 tablespoon chicken or vegetable base
1-2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1 cup sherry wine (or cooking sherry, if you must)
1/2-1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh basil, chopped
1. In a medium to large pot, heat oil over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add onions and garlic and sweat, stirring occasionally so the garlic doesn’t burn, until the onions have softened and turned slightly translucent.
2. To the pot, add the tomato juice, canned tomatoes, chicken base and sugar, bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat to allow it to simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to marry, then add the sherry and cream and simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes.
3. Season with salt and pepper, then give it a taste to check the consistency to see if it needs more seasoning or cream. It should be creamy, but you should still be able to taste the tomatoes and sherry (so don’t go overboard with the cream). Add parsley and basil right before serving.