Cold and tired? Let Bwog’s resident culinary expert Matt Powell show you how to make a simple, delicious, and above-all warm meal in this week’s edition of Cooking With Bwog.
Because of the cold weather, my friend Hannah called me early in the day, asking for a simple soup recipe. (Clam chowder might be a bit complicated for some people.) We put together an easy, All-American dinner that is perfect for these chilly winter nights: Cream of Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese. It’s just “like mom used to make”—except better! Plus, it satisfies that craving for tomatoes even though tomatoes are not in season.
1 Large Can Diced Tomatoes
1 C beef broth
1 Small Onion
1 tbsp. whole cloves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinch of baking soda
1 ½ C heavy cream
Fresh basil, for garnish
Peel the onion, but do not chop it. Take the tablespoon of whole cloves and stick them into the onion. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the canned tomatoes, the beef broth, and the clove-onion. Bring this mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes.
Once the 30 minutes are up, remove the clove-onion. Carefully transfer the contents of the saucepan into a blender. Blend the mixture carefully (Hot liquids expand in the blender) until smooth. Once the mixture is smooth, pour the contents of the blender back into the saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat again. Add in the spices. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Continue to stir while you add the heavy cream in a slow stream. (Adding the cream slowly will prevent the cream from curdling.) Taste the soup. Adjust the seasonings to your liking (I like to add a little cayenne pepper, personally).
Serve in soup bowls with basil as garnish and with grilled cheese sandwiches.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
8 slices of fresh French Bread
4 tbsp. butter, melted
4 tbsp. pesto
3 C grated cheese, your preference (I used a mixture of two Gouda cheeses.)
4 small handfuls of arugula
Brush one side of each piece of bread with the melted butter. (This will be the outside of the sandwich. Buttering the bread allows for that pretty golden-brown look.)
On the un-buttered side, smear 1 tbsp. of pesto on 4 of the slices of bread. Distribute the grated cheese to the four sandwiched and place the arugula on top of the cheese. Sprinkle a bit of pepper on top of the cheese. Place the four other slices of bread on the top, with the buttered side on the outside.
Grill your sandwiches on a portable grill or in a skillet over the stove. Serve immediately with your soup.
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