Who doesn’t love a bowl of creamy tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich?  I love to make soup on the weekends when the weather turns cool and we just feel like hunkering down on the couch with a blanket and a book.  Quiet time is so precious anymore when everyone is so busy with their own lives.  This soup is inspired by Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Cream of Tomato Soup.  The recipe calls for fresh ripe garden tomatoes which I would have preferred but at this time of year I will just have to go with canned.   As it turned out the soup was just about as good as it gets.  The Chipotle Gouda cheese melted nicely and had a little kick.  It was a good choice to go alongside this rich and creamy soup.

The spice blend is comprised of black pepper, white pepper, nutmeg, sugar, paprika, basil, garlic powder, onion powder and salt.

Combine your measured spices in a small bowl.

The soup ingredients are canned tomatoes, onion, chicken stock, half and half, butter, spices and parsley.  I didn’t have any fresh parsley on hand so I’m going to wing it with dried parsley flakes.

Melt the butter in a large stockpot and saute a large chopped onion.

When the onion start to soften add 2 tablespoons of the spice mix.

Stir in the spices and let cook a minute or two.

Stir in 2 (28 ounce) cans of whole tomatoes and the remaining spice mix.

I used my emulsion blender to chop up and blend the soup.  In the past I’ve used a blender to puree the tomatoes and onions. Or if you like a chunky soup just use a potato masher to break up the tomatoes.

Pour 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock into the pot.

Bring the soup to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in a cup of heavy cream.

And a couple tablespoons of parsley flakes.  I just eyeballed it and maybe threw in a little extra!  Stir the pot and turn the heat off.

While the soup is off to the side I’m going to make the panini’s.  I like a crusty sourdough bread and we found this cheese on a recent trip to Wisconsin so it ought to be good!

I grated the cheese since the triangle shape wasn’t very easy to slice.

I buttered one of the slices and loaded the other side with grated gouda.

I put the sandwich together and placed the buttered side down on the cast iron griddle while pressing the top side.

When the sandwich starts to brown on the bottom side and you see cheese melting it’s time to flip it over.  But first butter the top side, flip and place the press on top.

Perfectly toasted and melting cheese!

Nothing better on a cold day than a bowl of this soup!

Creamy Tomato Soup  (adapted from Paul Prudhomme’s Cream of Tomato Soup)

Spice Blend
1 tablespoon Sugar
2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Paprika
1 teaspoon Basil
3/4 teaspoon White Pepper
3/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

2 (28 ounce) cans Whole Tomatoes
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 large Onion, diced
1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons dried Parsley or 1/4 cup fresh Parsley

Combine the spice blend ingredients together in a small bowl.

Melt the butter in a large stockpot, add the chopped onions and saute over medium heat until onions are soft and translucent. Add 2 tablespoons of the spice blend and stir the pot for 2 minutes.   Add the cans of whole tomatoes and the remaining spice blend.   At this point take the pot off the burner and blend the tomatoes and onions with an emulsion blender or transferring the contents to a blender to puree.  Place the pot back on the burner and add the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.

Uncover, stir in the heavy cream and parsley flakes.  Serve warm.

Makes 6 – 8 servings

Chipotle Gouda Panini

8 slices Crusty Sourdough Bread
8 ounces Chipotle Gouda Cheese, sliced or grated

Spread margarine over 1 slice of the crusty sourdough bread.  Place a generous amount of cheese on a second slice of sourdough and put sandwich together.  Place margarine side down on a heated cast iron griddle with panini press over the top slice.  When the cheese begins to melt and bottom slice begins to brown, spread a light amount of margarine over the top slice and flip over to brown on the other side.  This will only take a minute or two.  When the panini is toasted brown, remove from griddle.  Make the remaining sandwiches the same way.

Makes 4 panini sandwiches.