McCargo’s Tomato Soup
What an eventful week! A very sweet and lovable beagle found its way into my home, literally, and Sunday’s storm blew a tree onto my deck. If I had to rate this week on a scale of 1 to 10 of crazy happenings, this one gets a 9.5! So in the midst of all of the deciphering dog signs and calling the township, I found myself hard pressed to be able to pull off anything overly complicated for the weekend meal. When all else fails, the quick and easy answer here is tomato soup.
Forget your canned Campbell’s tomato soup. I remember growing up, that was the staple in almost every household, mine being no exception. While definitely holding a place in everyone’s nostalgic childhood, I learned a few years ago that fresh tomato soup by far blows away any canned or boxed soup variety any day of the week with its eyes closed and hands tied behind its back. Fresh, flavorful, not chock full of sodium, and hearty, once you go fresh and realize how easy it is, you’ll never want to go back…ever.
I happened to catch a recent episode of Aaron McCargo’s show where he made a very easy to prepare “funked out” tomato soup that sported some red pepper to spice things up and was finished in less than 30 minutes. I knew as soon as I saw it that it was my kind of recipe! As long as you have a blender, or in my case an immersion hand blender, making this soup is a breeze. Most ingredients are readily available in most people’s pantries, however, I did have a bit of a problem locating sherry vinegar. Instead, I substituted an aged balsamic vinegar and the results were just as fantastic.
As a main entree, I would serve this up with some parmesan tuiles and a dollop of cream. For our inaugural dinner, I paired this soup with an equally simple and delicious grilled cheese sandwich. I mean, what’s more homey and comforting than grilled cheese and tomato soup? Nothing! As expected, it was comforting, easy, and delicious.
McCargo’s Tomato Soup
Adapted barely from Aaron McCargo Jr
3/4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 large tomatoes, sliced
Red pepper flakes
Cracked black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon ground chicken bouillon
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (I didn’t have this so I used a good aged balsamic vinegar instead)
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Stir in the onion, garlic, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt, to taste. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Add the chicken stock and chicken bouillon and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Stir in the sherry at the last minute and remove from the heat. Allow to cool before adding it to a blender. Puree until smooth and return to the pot, over low heat, to keep warm until ready to serve.