When I think of comfort food, tomato soup and grilled cheese are at the top of the list. It’s a classic combination that I added a little gourmet touch to.
The Tomato Soup recipe I use is from Epicurious.com. It includes instructions for making your own brown butter croutons to garnish your soup. I made this on a Monday night and didn’t feel like making the croutons so I skipped that part and added some store bought croutons. I find Trader Joe’s brand are really good. I also did not have celery seed so I substituted fennel seeds instead and it turned out great.
Tomato Soup Ingredients:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a knife and peeled
5 cups canned whole tomatoes in juice
1 cup water
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, water, cream, salt, red pepper flakes, celery seed (I used fennel), oregano, and sugar. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and puree in batches in the container of a blender. Be very careful not to over fill your blender. The heat will cause it to spray all over which could cause you to get burned. I like to hold the lid down with a kitchen towel while the blender is on.
Return the soup to the pot and reheat to a simmer, seasoning to taste with more salt and pepper.
I transferred my soup to a tureen which makes a very lovely presentation and made our rustic Monday night dinner feel a bit fancier.
I placed some croutons in a soup bowl and ladled the soup over the top. Yum! Try not to be as messy as I was.
Now it’s time to make the Grilled Goat Cheese & Chicken Panini. These are delicious and a great compliment to the tomato soup.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are very versatile and don’t have to be like the ones you had in your hot lunch at school. You can make them as plain or as fancy as you want. I took this one up a level by adding some simple gourmet ingredients.
For this sandwich, I used basil, thyme, rosemary, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, heirloom tomatoes, grilled chicken and goat cheese. I live in Pasadena where these particular ingredients are readily available year round. If you can’t find these fresh ingredients, that’s okay. Use whatever is in season at your market.
Combine all fresh herbs and garlic (I used 8 cloves) into a blender or a food processor along with about 1/2 cup of olive oil. Blend until you have a herb flavored oil. Cut bread in half and spread herb oil on the inside of each piece. You can use whatever bread you prefer. I used a panini roll.
Grill bread face down (herb spread down) on the grill until it begins to toast. Remove bread from grill. Assemble all ingredients on grilled bread. I began by spreading the goat cheese on the bottom, followed by the heirloom tomato and chicken I had previously grilled. Top with second piece of bread.
Grill until cheese is melted, flipping sandwich once. I placed my cast iron skillet on top of the sandwiches to “press” them while they grilled.
I had some of the herb oil left over so I drizzled over the sandwiches and the soup as a garnish. Slice your panini in half and serve with the tomato soup.
This sandwich was delicious. The herb oil combined with the goat cheese was such a great combination. I also like to dip my sandwich in the soup.
Creamy Tomato Soup & Goat Cheese & Chicken Panini
Please enjoy this easy, rustic comfort food staple made a little bit gourmet with just a couple of extra touches!