Some of the best comfort foods: tomato soup and grilled cheese. And some days, comfort foods are really the only things that taste good.
Written and photographed by Tess Jewell-Larsen.
I was craving tomato soup and grilled cheese. Unfortunately the only thing we had close to tomato soup in the house was three cans of ready-cut tomatoes. So I figured I’d make the soup myself.
I was pretty hungry at the onset of making this, but I did have the patience to wait long enough for the vegetables to really steep together long enough to share flavors, instead of just putting them all in a blender and pressing, ‘start’—which definitely would have been faster.
As I waited for my soup to simmer the flavors of vegetables, cider and spices, I planned out my grilled cheese sandwich. Two thickly cut slices of Pan Marino bread were adorned with smoked, sharp Dorset cheese, fresh mozzarella, garden tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. Then I dipped the whole sandwich in an egg and milk mixture and set it on a hot olive oil laden pan and fried it until the bread was deliciously browned and the cheese melted. [If you really want to go for a fancy grilled cheese, you can always try Rachel O’Brien’s Grilled Cheese Sandwich on Hard Cider Bread]
About the time I finally finished the sandwich—it took me awhile to decide what I was going to do—my soup was ready for the blender.
I sat down, an hour after I started cooking, with my grilled cheese sandwich and spicy tomato soup. So, so good.
Spicy Cider Tomato Soup
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots (or 8 baby carrots, if you don’t have large carrots), chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 cup hard cider
1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
3 cans ready-cut tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp basil, minced
1 Tbsp Italian flat-leaf parsley, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper chili flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp spicy paprika (sweet or smoked paprika will work too)
Salt and pepper to taste.
In a medium-large pot, heat oil and then sauté onions, carrots and garlic on low heat until onions are translucent and the carrots are soft. Don’t turn the heat up too much or you’ll risk burning the garlic—which never tastes as good burnt.
Pour in the hard cider, chicken broth and ready-cut tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
Put in all herbs and spices, expect basil. Stir and let simmer for around a half hour. Add basil.
Put in blender and blend till it makes a fine purée.
Place in bowl and serve.