Polachecks Holiday 2021 Magazine

autumn classic

C R E A M Y S L OW - C O O K E R T OM A T O S O U P & G R I L L E D C H E E S E


for the soul

A cold weather classic — a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich — is a nostalgic meal, sure to bring back memories of coming in from playing in the snow to a warm kitchen, table, ears, and fingers tingling, and steam rising from the bowl. For many of us, the soup was from a can, with maybe some saltines crumbled on top, and the sandwich was the basic grilled cheese — two slices of processed white bread with a slice of cheddar between, buttered on the outside and fried on both sides until crisp. Sliced in half with gooey cheese leaking out, it was the perfect sandwich. Our tastes may have outgrown the canned soup and white bread of our youth, but that does not mean we must give up quick and easy tomato soup and grilled cheese on a cold day. With a slow cooker and a frying pan, we can have the same warm kitchen feeling of our childhoods. Ingredients: 2 tbsp. unsalted butter 1 onion, finely chopped 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour 2 28-oz. cans diced tomatoes, undrained

1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer to slow cooker. 2. Add tomatoes, broth, and 1/2 cup water to cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low until tomatoes are very soft: 5 to 6 hours. Puree with an immersion blender or blend in batches in a stand-up blender before returning to slow cooker then stir in cream and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper and serve. You may wish to add croutons to your soup — either purchased or home-made. To make croutons: cube partially stale bread, sprinkle with melted butter or olive oil, and top with minced garlic and/or parmesan cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes in a 375° oven, stirring once. The perfect pairing for the soup is, of course, grilled cheese. It’s a classic, and for many of us, the first thing we learned to cook for ourselves. The only way to have a bad grilled cheese is to is have a burnt grilled cheese or cheese that does not melt. Burning the sandwich can be avoided by ensuring that you have enough butter on the outside of the sandwich and that the heat is not too high. Some people swear by using mayonnaise rather than butter to coat the bread. Making sure that you are not using too much cheese (yes, there is such a thing!), or a type of cheese that does not melt well, will

ensure that you get the stretchy sandwich you desire. Parmesan, feta, or goat cheese, while delicious, would not be ideal choices for grilling. Do look for other cheeses than just cheddar or American. Swiss, provolone, or pepper jack can make a basic sandwich special. Try different breads: rye, pumpernickel, or a ciabatta. Experiment with different bread/cheese combinations. You may find surprising combos that you love. Try adding other ingredients to your sandwiches — technically making them a melt — but easy to make in your frying pan: Try tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fresh basil on a sourdough bread for a Caprese salad in a sandwich add crisp bacon and tomatoes to cheddar on crusty white bread. Thinly sliced ham, pear, and gouda with Dijon mustard on multi-grain bread is a filling sandwich that hits sweet, spicy, and salty notes. Comforting enough for a miserable rainy day and special enough to impress your guests, upgrading your tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich will allow your childhood favorite to grow up along with you.

1 cup vegetable or chicken broth 3/4 cup heavy cream, warmed 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper Salt and pepper Preparation:

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