I'm lucky enough to also keep a well-stocked pantry, so making a soup on the fly is no big deal. I recommend keeping items such as chicken stock, dried herbs, onions and garlic on hand at all times. They keep well, and go with so many dishes. That way, a dish can be thrown together much more quickly when necessary ingredients are available.
I started off by pulling together and assembling all ingredients. It makes a world of difference to assemble your mise en place (basically having all ingredients on hand and measured out before food prep begins.) This helps you know if you have all necessary ingredients before you begin, and then once you measure them out, the cooking goes so much faster.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 a Vidalia onion- diced (red or white would work as well)
3 cloves garlic- diced finely
16 oz chicken broth
1 tomato diced, then puree half
1 can diced tomatoes- blended in a food processor
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup Sherry
1/4 cup half and half
If the soup seems good, keep it simmering on medium-low heat for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally. This tightens up the soup and makes the flavor a bit more bold, as the water evaporates. I took the time while the soup was simmering to make a green bean and shiitake mushroom sautee and garlic bread.
Once everything is ready and it's time to serve the soup, turn the heat off and add the cream and sherry mixture. This is not necessary if you are trying to keep calories low, but does add a luscious richness to the soup.
Top with a touch of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Enjoy.
This recipe creates 4 servings of soup.