There seems to be a common thread in the comfort foods of our childhood. One of my cold weather favorites is Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I grew up on that stuff, in fact our whole neighborhood did. I have such fond memories of snowy days, sled riding down the hill and all of the neighborhood kids having lunch together. It was pretty much the same thing no matter whose house you went to: Canned tomato soup, white bread with processed cheese grilled in margarine. Warm gooey and familiar. It was the best, or at least I thought so as a child.
I still crave tomato soup but I’ve grown up and the canned version doesn’t cut it any more. I make my own. I had a recipe but over the years, I’ve tweaked this to fit my own tastes. I encourage you to make this…it is the stuff of your dreams.
This is wintertime comfort food. It’s right up there with CNS (Chicken Noodle Soup) or Matzo Ball’s. This will cure all ills. I don’t care if you’re cold, hungry, sniffling, or feeling a bit down, just looking at this will cheer you up. You can’t beat that!
I’ve served this to dinner guests to rave reviews. Put it is a white bowl with a bit of goat cheese and pesto and it will complement the most elegant of dinners. It’s like a favorite sweater or the jacket you looks just as good with an evening gown or with jeans. It just works and everyone loves it.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are not the same without the tomato soup. This was our dinner menu last night. Steve like’s his grilled cheese sandwiches very much like that of my childhood. White bread, processed cheese, mayo with the addition of deli ham. My preference is artesian bread, pesto, goat cheese and peppers that I canned myself. I use real butter in the pan, not the margarine that was so popular in our childhood.
It really is an amazing meal. It’s a meeting ground of the comfort food of our childhood and grown up tastes. Steve and I had this for dinner last night and it was amazing. I still remember sledding down our hill, building snowmen and hanging out with the neighborhood kids and coming home to this.
Sadly, after dinner last night I saw a Facebook post that one of the kids from the neighborhood passed away a few days ago. I still see little Scotty Milliron as the daredevil kid sledding down the hill. He was a few years younger than I am, more of my brother’s age. My family moved away so I haven’t seen him in 35 years or more so it’s hard to picture him as a grown man. He was the kid who would tag along with us to Hershey Park, play ball in the field and do what he could to torment us. I remember how all of us used to fight and then still come together at the table. Even that canned tomato soup worked it’s magic in our childhood. Thankfully those memories stay with us.
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- 3 28 oz Cans os Whole Peeled Tomatoes
- 3 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
- 4 Tablespoons of Butter or Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
- ¼ Cup of Tomato Paste (I like the spicy kind)
- ¼ to ½ Teaspoon of Smoked Paprika to taste
- 3 -4 Tablespoons of flour (gluten free flour works great here)
- 3-4 Cups of Chicken Stock
- 2-4 Tablespoons of vermouth or sherry to taste
- Salt, Pepper and/or additional paprika to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drain the canned tomatoes reserving the juice. Trim the tomatoes and add them to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the tomatoes in the bowl and mix well. Spread the tomatoes evenly over a foil lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven until browned on the edges, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the butter or olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until it softens. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the tomato paste and ¼ teaspoon of the smoked paprika. Cook and stir until it the tomato paste is evenly incorporated. In a small measuring cup put about ½ cup of the chicken stock, whisk in the flour then pour it into the pan with the onions and tomato paste over low heat. Cook and stir, gradually adding another cup of the chicken stock.
- Remove from heat, add the roasted tomatoes and another cup of chicken stock. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth (alternatively, use an emulsion blender in the pot, blend until smooth). Return the mixture to the pan, adding the remaining chicken stock. Heat over medium heat until it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low. Pour enough of the reserved tomato juice to reach the desired consistency, add in the vermouth or sherry, season with salt, pepper and additional paprika, if desired. Simmer over low hear, whisking constantly for 10 minutes. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve warm.