Keena’s Chunky Gazpacho

Chunky Gazpacho / A Sweet Spoonful
I call this time of the year, this month of September, the “bridge month.” When I made pies for a living, I called them “bridge desserts,” those slices of jammy sweets that’d have one foot definitively in fall and the other stubbornly in summer. That’s always how I feel come September: eagerly anticipating the changing light of the new season, but also so very hesitant for the long days to creep away. And so, today, a warm weather recipe we can all nurse for a good month more: a silky, simple gazpacho that we had for lunch (and dinner) many times last month. And given our amazing tomatoes this year, I’m hoping for a few more rounds.

I went many years without making gazpacho at home; I always find that it falls into one of three camps: the good, the bad, or the ugly. And most recipes I found in the past were firmly up for Ugliest Gazpacho of the Year Award — which wouldn’t matter if they were really delicious, but that was never the case. Now how could you mess up gazpacho, really? I find that the recipes that call for bread blended into the soup always end up murky and off-color, and just not at all appealing. I don’t particularly love a lot of onion blended into the soup itself, and I’ve seen a great many recipes that are heavily spiced with chile seasonings and it always baffles me as to why we can’t just let the tomatoes shine. If you’re buying ripe, in season tomatoes you need little else. 

 

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This recipe recognizes that. The tomatoes sing here. Now, I didn’t make this recipe up — I can’t claim this baby as my own. Instead, it’s a recipe I discovered on Molly’s blog, and Molly got it from our mutual friend Keena. I’m not sure that I’ve ever had the soup made my Keena herself, but she talks about it often and I always kind of passively listened to her sing its praises thinking it was just “her thing” and it was probably, like most other gazpachos,” in the Ugly or Bad  Camp … but it turns out, this is no such gazpacho.

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This recipe is really the color of whatever tomatoes you’re using. Keena mentions she likes to use a few yellow ones to mellow out the color, and I took her lead with these heirloom beauties I got from my farmers market neighbors, One Leaf Farm. The soup itself has an amazing creaminess (despite a lack of dairy) thanks to the generous time in the blender — Molly and Keena both recommend leaving the blender running as long as you can really stand the noise to get the silky texture. Personally, I prefer my gazpacho on the chunky side, so I added additional chopped cucumber and bell peppers at the very end, and topped the soup with a generous spoonful of diced avocado (a move I learned from Comforts, the Marin restaurant where I used to work). We serve it with crackers, bread and cheese for a light dinner — and it makes a spot-on lunch any day of the week.

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So I hope it’s not too late in the season for you all to get excited about this recipe. I assure you, it’s a keeper. And it may be a bit until I’m back here with a new recipe, to be honest. We get married in one week! Sam picked up his mom at the airport last night; we’re painting signs and making seating charts and assembling favors and spray painting baskets. There’s still A. Lot. To. Do. but it’s starting to feel so real and we can’t wait to celebrate next weekend with our nearest and dearest. I’ll be back here, at the very least, with a few photos to share. Wish us luck! Make gazpacho! Hold onto the bridge month for as long as you can!

Keena's Chunky Gazpacho

Keena's Chunky Gazpacho

  • Yield: 6-7 cups
  • Prep time: 25 mins
  • Inactive time: 25 mins

Keena’s original recipes calls for sherry vinegar but I’ve used red wine vinegar here instead because it’s what we had on hand. I think either will work famously for you.  And the finer you chop the vegetables you fold in at the end, the better.

Ingredients

2 pounds fresh tomatoes (about 4 - 5 medium to large), ideally yellow and red
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 - 2 garlic cloves
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ to ¾ of a red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 - 3 tablespoons sherry (or red wine) vinegar
kosher salt, to taste

To top:

1 green bell pepper, seeded and very finely diced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and very finely diced
1 large avocado, finely diced

Instructions

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Score an “X” into the bottom of each tomato, and then blanch them until the skin begins to peel back around the “X.” Remove from the water, cool them until they’re not too hot to handle, and then peel. Remove and discard the stems, and cut out the rough spot where the stem attaches. Chop coarsely.

Put the olive oil in a blender, and blend on high speed until frothy. Add the garlic, and process briefly. Add the peppers, cucumber, a couple pinches of salt, and as many tomatoes as will fit comfortably into your blender. Process on high speed, stopping the blender from occasionally to move around the ingredients as needed to allow the blender to run smoothly. (The mixture will be fairly thick until the tomatoes are pureed.) Let the soup process for 1-2 minutes (or as long as you can stand the noise); the longer it goes, the creamier it will be. Add 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and process to incorporate. Taste, and add vinegar and salt as needed.

Fold in additional diced peppers and cucumbers and chill before serving.

Top with diced avocado, and enjoy!

Comments

  1. Isabelle

    I'll be trying this one soon - it looks absolutely delicious, and I've never made Gazpacho myself so it will be nice to try something new.

  2. Angie

    Good luck! Enjoy every moment!

  3. ahu @ ahueats

    I agree with letting the tomato shine! Have a wonderful wedding :)

  4. Shannon

    Perfect timing. We are inundated with garden tomatoes. That's definitely not a complaint...

    Congratulations!!

  5. Christina @ but i'm hungry

    I've had the same experience when it comes to Gazpacho and kind of gave up on it. But if you say this is the ONE, I'll give it a try. It sounds wonderful. Congrats on your new adventure! ;)

  6. heidi

    i love gazpacho,make it often in the summer and even early fall just because i love it so!i try out various recipes and i will use this one next time. i like it chunky and the avocado is a must.

  7. kristie @ birchandwild.com

    All the best for the wedding week!
    This soup looks delicious, and I can't imagine a better use of the tomatoes that are literally falling off of my vines.

  8. Ordinary Blogger (Rivki Locker)

    I made gazpacho once and so wanted to like it. But I didn't. I'm bookmarking this to try soon - looks like it could be a good one. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Traci | Vanilla And Bean

    Gazpacho with heirloom tomatoes is the best! This recipe will suit me just fine! Thank you, Megan!

    Wishing you and Sam all the best on your most special day next weekend.

  10. Jeanni @ Guard the Door

    Not only does this recipe look completely and utterly delish, but your pictures are AMAZING! I sometimes blog about recipes and I can only hope that my pictures will one day be at the level yours are. Stunning!

  11. Francesca

    Those tomatoes (and this soup) are gorgeous.

  12. Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño

    I've waited all summer to make something like this and now I finally have the tomatoes to do it! Yum!

  13. Andrea

    We still have plenty of tomatoes coming in here in Montana, so this recipe is perfect. And all the best to you and Sam!

  14. christine

    will enjoy the soup
    have a wonderful wedding day and a very happy continuing life

  15. Isabelle

    Hi Megan,
    Just today the postman delivered Whole-Grain Mornings and I can't wait to get stuck into it. It looks great! xxx

  16. Valerie day

    It's been a long posting lag... Hope all is well! Hoping this means you're married and honeymooning.

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