Thursday, January 15, 2009

Grilled Cheese for grown-ups

Nisa gave us a cookbook for Christmas (she also sewed aprons for all of the kids for their new kitchen- a very thoughtful gift). The cookbook is A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop. We have been loving this cookbook. It's divided up into seasons, so right now I have just been looking at recipes in the Winter section, which rely heavily on squashes and beans.

I love the writing. Bishop says things like " . . . when snow is piled a foot high in the back yard, cooking seems more like alchemy. To transform a bag of kidney beans and a few dried chiles into a comforting stew is magic."

When Jason and I were dating he was playing lacrosse for BYU. He had practice every week-day evening for 3 hours and after practice he was always hungry. So I fed him. And that's how I won his heart. It was simple really - I made grilled cheese and canned tomato soup most nights! So when I saw the recipe in my new cookbook for grilled cheese sandwiches with garlicky mushrooms I had to try it. So yummy! Jason loved it and said I totally out-did myself - luckily I love to cook, so I can keep winning his heart on a daily basis!

And the soup no longer comes from a can.

Creamy Tomato Soup
(also Jack Bishop)

2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise, washed, and sliced crosswise into thin strips
1 tablespoon double-strength tomato paste (the kind in the tube)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable broth
Cayenne pepper

1. Move an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Drain the tomatoes in a strainer set in a bowl to collect the juices. With your fingers, carefully open the tomatoes, one at a time, letting the juices and seeds drop into the strainer. Place the seeded tomatoes on the foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and roast until the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are just beginning to color, about 20 minutes. Discard the seeds in the strainer and reserve the juice in the bowl. You should have about 2.5 cups strained tomato juice.

3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the leeks and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the leeks have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and nutmeg and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Whisking constantly, add the vegetable broth until the mixture is smooth (without lumps of flour). Add the reserved tomato juice and roasted tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer to blend the flavors, about 10 minutes.

4. Puree the soup in batches (I used a stick blender!) until perfectly smooth. Return the soup to a clean saucepan and adjust the seasonings, adding salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Warm and serve, or refrigerate in an airtight container for several days and then warm over low heat before serving.

Serves 4.


Rebecca said...

I know you Christina. Even when your soup came from a can, I'm sure it was the best darn tomato soup most people have ever tasted! Thanks for the recommendation, I think we might have to buy that cookbook!

George Erdosh said...

Grilled cheese sandwich is our favorite too. I'll try your recipe and compare.

Talking about new cookbooks?
Check out my latest (Nov/08):

Tried and True Recipes from a Caterer’s Kitchen—Secrets of Making Great Foods

Now available on many internet booksellers’ websites.

Margaret said...

I want to try that soup. I've always wanted a good non-can tomato soup recipe.

Mrs. Cropper said...

this sounds so delish. can't wait to try.

Honey said...

Yum! Sounds perfect for a cold, wintry day - or any day!