Shameless Chef

The Shameless Chef: Pizza Soup

A long time ago, my friend Braeden and I were eating at TGIFriday's and Braeden was having a bit of a dilemma. He really wanted the thick slab of melted mozzarella cheese that went atop the French Onion soup, but he preferred the taste of the Tomato Basil soup. We spent many long moments in silent contemplation before my head snapped up in epiphany, knocking over a small waiter. "Hey!" I said. "Why don't you get the Tomato Basil soup, but just have them melt that slab of cheese over it instead of the French Onion soup? It'll be like Pizza soup!"

Braeden stared at me in wonder, as if seeing me for the first time. "You are a genius," he whispered reverently.

Consequently, this may actually be the very first Shameless Chef creation.

You will need:

• Some good tomato soup. I used HEB's tomato basil soup, because the guy at the deli assured me it was addictive. I don't know about addictive, but it was pretty damn tasty. • A roll of sourdough bread to use as a bowl. Panera Bread sells the perfect single-serving size for about a buck and a half. I got a whopping huge sourdough loaf at HEB, and even cutting it in half, it was still way too much for one person. If you've got a family of four or five to feed, however, it would be perfect to make a giant bread bowl out of the whole thing and just have everybody eat from it like a bigass Bloomin' Onion or something. • Pepperoni. And whatever else you prefer on your pizza, I guess, maybe mushrooms or sardines or kiwano melons or whatever the hell else you freaks who don't eat meat on your pizza are into. • Mozzarella cheese.

If you managed to find a bowl of proper size, you can skip the first step, which is cutting your bigass loaf of bread in half. Now its proportions are going to be thrown off, so it's best to use a metal bowl of some kind to keep it upright for when you hollow it out.

Once you've got your bowl all scooped-out and ready, just pour in your tomato soup. Stop pouring when you reach a point just below the rim, to prevent things from getting any messier than they already will. Tear up some pepperoni and stir that in, too.

Place a couple of slices of mozzarella cheese on top (or some grated cheese, it doesn't matter) and stick it in your toaster oven for 6 or 7 minutes. A toaster oven really is pretty key on this one; a microwave will make the whole thing very soggy on the inside and leathery on the outside. Not a pleasant dining experience, unless you're one of those people who enjoys a nice catcher's mitt full of pizza toppings from time to time. Once the cheese is melted and the whole concoction is heated up to your liking, enjoy. Seems a little too easy, right? Well that was kind of the fucking point. Christ, what is it with you lately?

Overall, this is a quick little something you can whip together on your lunch break, or if you've got a Panera Bread near your workplace, a quick little something you can order a 20-year-old art-school dropout to whip together for you.

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John Seaborn Gray