When it is still summer and you have perfect tomatoes, this soup can do without the onion, bacon, and cream. But when there is a nip in the air, the bacon and cream will give it welcome substance. A slice of toasted bread, rubbed with a little garlic and placed in the bowl before ladling in the soup, makes a nice counterpoint by providing a contrasting texture.
– 1 onion, finely chopped (optional).
– 3 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into ¼-inch dice (optional).
– 1 quart chicken broth.
– 1½ pounds very ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded, and finely chopped.
– 1 cup (½ inch) cubed cooked chicken, or 1 raw boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch cubes.
– 1 cup heavy cream.
– Leaves from 6 sprigs tarragon, chopped at the last minute.
Step 1:If you are making the cool-weather version, in a pot, cook the onion and bacon over medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes, or until the bacon just begins to get crispy. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. If you are making the warm-weather version, skip the onion and bacon step and just bring the broth to a simmer.
Step 2:Add the tomatoes and simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Add the chicken, cream, and tarragon. If using cooked chicken, simmer for about 1 minute, or until the liquid is piping hot and the chicken is heated through. If using raw chicken, simmer for about 4 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. Season with salt and pepper.