You might have noticed that I’ve been MIA for the last little while, with Finn (graciously) picking up the slack. Usually we each post a new recipe twice a week, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do a full post, let alone cook or bake anything new.
I had to say goodbye to Lola last week. Without going into too much detail (some things are better left private), it was sudden, unexpected, and heartbreakingly sad.
I’m lucky enough, though, to have had time to say a kiss-filled and heartfelt – albeit brief – goodbye to my little munchkin, and while I’ve been a complete wreck for the last little while, I’m happy to have known her.
Some people don’t understand the emotional connection we make with our pets. They weasel their way into our hearts with their little personalities and unabiding love. Lola was a part of my family and was the perfect lap warmer/cuddle bucket, and I will miss her little squishy face. But, I’m happy that I got to be her mum, even for such a short time.
It was only recently that I felt okay enough to even step into the kitchen. I needed to make something extra comforting, something that would give me a great big food-hug; something that would pat me on the back and tell me that things will be okay. Maybe not now, but eventually, things will be okay.
So I made homemade tomato basil soup with a prosciutto, apple & Gruyere grilled cheese sandwich. Who can say no to a melty, grilled cheese sandwich with a side of tomato soup? It’s the perfect comfort food: cozy and heartwarming, nostalgic and inviting.
The soup is especially thick and creamy – no disappointing, watery soup here. I used homemade chicken stock, which gives the soup a wonderful flavour, but you could also use boxed chicken/veggie broth, or even water. But really, if you can use homemade chicken stock (think of those post-Thanksgiving leftovers), it’s wonderful.
While regular cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches are delicious, I upped the ante a bit by adding salty Gruyere cheese, prosciutto, and crunchy, tangy apple. It might sound like a gourmet sandwich, but it’s definitely great for down-and-dirty, lick-your-fingers-clean, soup dipping.
|Thick & Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Prosciutto, Apple & Gruyere Grilled Cheese|| || |
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken or veggie stock (homemade is best)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup fresh basil, minced
- 1½ Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 8 slices sourdough bread
- 4 large slices of prosciutto
- 8 slices Gruyere cheese
- 8 slices cheddar cheese
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled and thinly sliced
- Optional (to garnish)
- Basil, chopped
- Parmesan cheese
- Sour cream
- Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a dutch oven or large pot. Once hot, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring to avoid burning the garlic.
- Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Carefully transfer mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Return mixture to the pot.
- Stir in the cream, basil and sugar, bring to a boil and let simmer for another 20 minutes until thick and creamy.
- While soup is simmering, make grilled cheese. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Place a piece of bread in the skillet and layer with prosciutto, Gruyere, cheddar and apple. Top with another slice of bread, and repeat for all 4 sandwiches. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side until bread has browned and cheese has melted.
- Serve sandwiches immediately with a bowl of soup, topped with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese or sour cream.
*If you have an immersion blender, use that to puree the soup instead of transferring to a blender. Less mess, easier, and much more convenient!