Ree Drummond’s book finally made it to our bookstore! I was so excited I grabbed it and ran to the checkout all the while stuffing my nose in it even as I walked to my car. I stayed up late into the night enjoying every single page. About 2A.M. I had an epiphany. I want to live on a ranch with photogenic cows, and I want to cook every single darn recipe in this book! Seriously. I’ve never had feelings like this before.
I have cookbook lust. I have it so badly that I’m even following all her directions. I don’t think this has ever happened to me. I haven’t been taking pictures of everything since this work is hers, but this soup made me stop and grab a shot.
You have to try this one. It is better than divine. It makes me not care so much about photogenic cows. Or not quite as much. Ree has me doing things I’ve never done before. Like buying cooking sherry and chicken base. I must not be in my right mind because these are two items I’ve sworn never to purchase!
Its lust I tell you. Cookbook, beautiful country food, photogenic cow lust. Plus the book has an all-American wild mustang pageant. I have to admit, Bernadette is awfully pretty, even if Ree is pulling for the super intellectual Ginger.
1 medium white or yellow onion
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
Two 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes
46-ounce can of tomato juice
3 to 6 Tablespoons sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons chicken base, or 3 chicken bouillon cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooking sherry
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Ree’s Instructions and Hilarious Ramblings
1. To begin, dice the onion.
2. Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven.
3. Throw in the onion and cook until translucent.
4. Now dump in the diced tomatoes and stir to combine.
5. Add the tomato juice. I used organic juice because I wanted people to think, she’s cool because she uses organics.
6. 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 acid bite than others. (For what its worth and I realize it’s not worth much, I use 6 tablespoons of sugar. But I like a little sweetness to my tomato soup. So don’t listen to me.)
7. Next, add 1 or 2 tablespoons 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!
8. Now you can add lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine, then heat almost to a boil. Then turn off the heat.
9. 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!
10. 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 ½ cups of the stuff into our soup. And mmm… stir it together.
11. Now chop up a handful of flat-leaf parsley. And really, I’m not opposed to that 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 are going. Or where they have been.
12. 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 soup.)
13. 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.
14. I always set it to fine for this soup, and I really let ‘er loose. I love freshly ground black pepper.
15. Keep the soup warm and serve it on a cold day to people you love. The flavor will knock your socks off.
Recipe from Ree Drummond's book, "The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl". Visit her award winning blog. Picture by the unworthy Laura Flowers who now wants to live on a ranch with photogenic cows someplace where it doesn’t snow.