6 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, shaved thinly
2 pounds freshly diced tomatoes
4 cups all-natural tomato juice
1¼ cups chicken stock
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons raw honey
1 cup sherry, optional (but Mom always used it)
¾ cups milk or heavy cream
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Melt butter in a large pot or heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and stir. Cook until the mixture becomes very aromatic, about 4 minutes.
Add the diced tomatoes and stir to combine, then add tomato juice, red wine vinegar honey and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine, then taste and add more vinegar, honey, salt or pepper if needed to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
Heat almost to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add the sherry if using. Stir in the milk or cream. Add the basil and parsley and stir. If the soup looks too thin, return it to the heat to simmer and reduce for up to 10 minutes, but don’t let it boil or the dairy will curdle. Serve the soup warm, with olive oil drizzled on top, a grilled cheese sandwich and a salad on the side.
Matthew Jennings is the chef and owner of Townsman in Boston, MA.