Recipe Notes (Adapted from Craig Claiborne's The New New York Times Cookbook)
2 large tomatoes, cored, peeled, and quartered
1 green pepper, cored, seeded, and quartered
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 small garlic clove (optional)
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into cubes
½ jalapeño pepper, split and seeds removed (optional)
¼ cup fresh cilantro
12 or so fresh basil leaves
3 cups tomato juice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
¾ cup chicken broth
Tabasco, kosher salt, and pepper to taste
Optional garnish: diced scallion, garlic croutons, sour cream
Put the tomatoes, green pepper, onion, garlic, cucumber, jalapeño, cilantro, and basil in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add the tomato juice and blend again—you may have to do this in batches depending on the capacity of your machine.
Add the vinegar, olive oil, and broth, and briefly pulse to blend. Taste, season with tabasco, salt, and pepper, and taste again. Pro tip: season gradually—you can always add a little more, but you can’t take it out!
Garnish as you like and serve ice-cold in chilled bowls on the hottest day.