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The Best Recipe: Soups & Stews, Cook's Illustrated Magazine

Serves  8 TO 10

This recipe makes a large quantity because the leftovers are so good, but it can be halved if you prefer. If Fresh Samantha juices are available in your grocery store, the company's Veggie Cha Cha vegetable juice makes an excellent gazpacho—use it in place of the tomato juice. Traditionally, diners garnish their own bowls with more of the same diced vegetables that are in tire soup. If that appeals to you, cut some extra vegetables while you prepare those called for in the recipe. Additional garnish possibilities include croutons, chopped pitted black olives, chopped hardcooked eggs, and finely diced avocado.

• 3 ripe medium beefsteak tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice,  (about 4 cups)
• 2 small red bell peppers (about 1 pound), cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2 cups)
• 2 small cucumbers (about 1 pound), one peeled and the other with skin on, both seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice  (about 2 cups)
• 1/2 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia, Maui, or Walla Walla) or 2 large shallots, peeled and minced (about 1/2 cup)
• 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
• Ground black pepper
• 5 cups tomato juice, preferably Welch's
• 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco (optional)
• 8 ice cubes
• Extra-virgin olive oil for serving

1. Combine the tomatoes and their juices, bell peppers, cucumbers, omon, garlic, salt, vinegar, and pepper to taste in a large (at least 4-quart) nonreactive bowl. Let stand until the vegetables just begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato juice, hot pepper sauce, if using, and ice cubes. Cover tightly. Refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.

2. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and remove and discard any unmelted ice cubes. Serve cold, drizzling each portion with about 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and topping with the desired garnishes.

Using the same ingredients and quantities as for Classic Gazpacho, core and quarter the tomatoes and process them in the workbowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade until broken down into 1/4- to 3/4-inch pieces, about twelve 1-second pulses; transfer to a large bowl. Cut the cored and seeded peppers and seeded cucumbers into rough 1-inch pieces and process them separately until broken down into 1/4- to 3/4-inch pieces, about twelve 1-second pulses; add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Mince onion and garlic by hand, then add to bowl with vegetables along with salt, vinegar, and ground black pepper to taste; continue with recipe as directed.

A garnish of finely diced avocado is a must here. Follow recipe for Classic or Quick Food Processor Gazpacho, omitting optional hot pepper sauce and sherry vinegar and adding 2 1/2 tablespoons minced chipotle chiles en adobo, 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves, 6 tablespoons lime juice, and 2 teaspoons grated lime zest along with the tomato juice and ice cubes.



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