I love to take comforting foods and switch them up a bit and make them more interesting. This is my version of Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese.
This recipe makes enough for two people with some soup left over. The leftovers make a delicious lunch the next day!
For the Soup…
Slice 2 pieces of applewood smoked bacon into chunks. Saute in a dry pan until the bacon is crispy and brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and place on a plate with a paper towel to drain. Set aside. Saute 3 sliced shallots in the bacon grease until tender. Add 3/4 cup of white wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let the alcohol burn off – about 5 minutes. Add 1 large can of whole San Marzano tomatos, a handful of torn basil, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, salt, pepper, a few dashes of chipolte hot sauce (or you can use regular hot sauce), tablespoon sugar. Let boil for about 15 minutes. Use an immersion hand blender (like this one) and puree the soup until it’s smooth. Stir in about 1/3 cup of cream. Reduce to simmer until you are ready to use.
For the Grilled Cheese…
The key to making a grilled cheese great, is having quality bread and good cheese. My sandwiches always start with Balthazar bread. Slice whole grain bread into about 1/2 inch thick slices. Place a thin layer of Dijon mustard on one side of the bread. Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, then thinly sliced tomato and watercress. Next place shredded Gruyere cheese on the sandwich and top with the other slice of bread. In a pan heat up a little bit of butter. Place sandwiches in the melted butter. While they are browning on one side, smear some butter on the side of the bread that is not in the skillet — This way when you flip the sandwiches you don’t need to put more butter in the pan. Flip sandwiches and cook until golden brown on the other side.
Slice sandwiches in half. Serve with tomato soup topped with the reserved crumbled bacon and torn fresh basil. Enjoy!