Hey y’all! So guess what? Life has been pretty interesting lately here in the house of crazy. And not the average crazy-interesting. Well, maybe a little. But mostly the good kind of interesting. First my parents came to visit for a whole ten days! This was an amazing experience since it’s been over two years since we’ve seen them! And this was the first time EVER they got to meet crazies #3 and #4! Things with the littlest crazies got off to a bit of a rocky start at the airport…but being that my husband has been gone for seven months, all of my friends and family are in far away places, and I don’t do baby-sitters or day-care, I can’t say I blame them. By the next morning they warmed up to two new adults in the house and things went smooth from there.
We were sad to see them go, but the same day my parents left…MY HUSBAND CAME HOME! It may have only been for two weeks, but I feel so incredibly blessed we had that time together! From the second the crazies saw him it was as if he never left. And I sure was one happy Mama.
Annnnd (yes, it gets even better!) while he was home my wonderful husband bought me a new camera for Christmas! Woot woot!
So who else could use some comfort food? I know I could, for many reasons. How does baked ham and cheese sammies with tomato soup sound?
Warm. Simple. Comfort. I think we could all use a little of that in our lives right now.
So here’s how this starts. Two 28oz. cans of whole peeled tomatoes. Some olive oil, honey, salt, pepper, red chili flakes, two carrots, two shallots, a few cloves of garlic, some chicken stock, and mascarpone cheese.
Start by draining the tomatoes, reserving all their lovely juices.
Place the drained tomatoes in a bowl and add two tablespoons of honey. Please feel free to use your completely impractical ceramic measuring spoons that your daughter insisted she HAD to have, even though she had no clue what they were. Yup, I caved. But given the fact her Daddy left just hours earlier I think it was ok.
Now drizzle on about a tablespoon of olive oil, give or take.
Sprinkle on some pepper and plenty of salt. Toss it all together.
Now spread everything out on a baking sheet and place it into a 450 degree preheated oven. Roast for about 40-45 minutes or until the tomatoes and their juices start to caramelize.
In the mean time chop up two medium carrots. You can go with larger chunks here, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just set those off to the side for a minute.
And dice up one large (or in my case two small) shallots.
Next it’s time for the garlic. I used three kinda medium cloves. You could use more or less depending on how garlicky you want things to get. Give them a good whack, remove the peel, and dice.
Now heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven (or whatever pot you like to make soup in) over medium high heat. Sauté the carrots and shallot for about 5-6 minutes, or until the shallot is translucent and the carrot is beginning to soften up.
Then add a pinch of red pepper flake.
And the garlic. Sauté for another two minutes or so. Be careful not to burn the garlic!
Then add the tomatoes and any juices that have accumulated on the baking sheet. When you take the tomatoes out of the oven turn it down to 350 degrees.
Stir in the reserved tomato juice and about a cup of chicken stock, which I don’t have a picture of. I personally like a nice thick tomato soup, more like a bisque I guess. If you want a more traditional thinner soup you can add more chicken stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Add the mascarpone and stir it in.
Now transfer the soup to a food processor or a blender and puree until smooth. You might need to do this in batches depending on how much stock you use and how large your appliances are. If you have one of those nifty immersion blenders just use that instead! I used to have one…then I started making my own soap and I used my immersion blender to help get my soap to trace. As anyone who has made soap can tell you, once those appliances are used for soap they shouldn’t be used again for food. But if you have an immersion blender that has not been immersed in a big bucket of raw soap then by all means use that baby!
Then just return the soup to the pot and let it simmer over low heat while you work on the sandwiches.
I know grilled cheese is what normally goes with tomato soup, but this is comfort food. Ham sandwiches make me think of my Mammy, who used to make them for me when I was a kid. So instead of regular ‘ole grill cheese I went with these. I’m obviously using brown sugar ham (because I love it) but you can use whatever you like.
You also need some cheese. I almost cried tears of joy when I saw my local grocery store is carrying a select assortment of Beecher’s now! I love love love Beecher’s cheese. Especially this one. It’s tangy, and nutty, and creamy, and it melts so beautifully. And now I don’t have to make a trip to Seattle to get it! Seriously, if you can try any of their cheeses please do! This will be one of the few things I will miss when I leave WA.
And of course to make a sandwich ya need some bread. I went with a nice crusty french loaf.
Grate up your cheese. I used about 1/2 a cup to make two sandwiches. I also only serve half a sandwich with this soup, but you do what you like.
Butter one side of each slice of bread. The buttered sides will be inside of the sandwich.
Now just assemble. Bread, buttered side up. Cheese. A few slices of ham. More cheese. Bread, buttered side down. Wrap in tinfoil. Stick in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until ham is warm and cheese is melted.
Interesting point…it maybe took me a minute to assemble and photograph this sandwich. I was in my kitchen, in front of the same window, and that’s the same sandwich. But see how the light changes? That’s not me or the camera. That was our weather here today. Seriously…it was sun, clouds, rain, snow, sleet, repeat. Changing by the second. For a second I wondered if I had somehow magically been transported to TX.
Now dish yourself up a big bowl of your lovely tomato soup. I would sprinkle a little extra cheese on top of mine. But that’s just me.
One bowl of comfort coming right up! Enjoy.
- For the Soup:
- 2 28oz. Cans Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Drained, Juices Reserved
- 2 TBS Honey
- 2 TBS Olive Oil, Divided
- Salt and Pepper, To Taste
- 2 Whole Medium Carrots, Chopped
- 1 Large Shallot, Diced
- 3 Whole Cloves Garlic, Diced
- ¼ tsp Red Chili Flakes
- 1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Stock, Or More As Needed
- ¼ Cup Mascarpone Cheese
- For the Sandwiches:
- Loaf Of French Bread, Cut Into Slices On A Bias, Two Slices Per Sandwich
- Thin Sliced Deli Ham, 2-3 Slices Per Sandwich
- Cow’s Milk Cheese, Freshly Grated, ¼ cup Per Sandwich
- ½ TBS Butter Per Sandwich, Softened
- For the Soup:
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Combine drained tomatoes, honey, and one tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste; toss to coat.
- Spread tomatoes out onto a baking sheet. Roast 35-40 minutes, or until tomatoes start to caramelize.
- Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add carrots and shallot. Sauté 5-6 minutes, or until shallots are translucent and carrot is starting to soften up.
- Add red chili flake and garlic. Sauté another 1-2 minutes.
- Add reserved tomato juices and chicken stock.
- Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Stir in mascarpone cheese.
- Transfer soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Return to pot and reheat gently over low heat.
- Add more chicken stock to thin the consistency of the soup if desired, and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- For the Sandwiches:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter one side of each slice of bread.
- Layer cheese, ham, and more cheese on the buttered side of one slice of bread. Top with another slice of bread, buttered side down.
- Wrap assembled sandwiches in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and ham is warm.