Wine Pairing: A high acid red such as Cantine Valpane Rosso Pietro Barbera del Monferrato (750ml – $14.99) seems like a perfect match for both the bisque and the sandwich. A Sauvignon Blanc such as Pascal Jolivet Sancerre (750ml – $24.99) or Neal Ellis’ South African Sincerely, (750ml – $16.99) would also accompany this duo nicely.
Ingredients for Tomato Bisque:
- 2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, drained of their juices
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped (or substitute sweet onion, such as Vidalia)
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp dry sherry
- 1 to 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
Ingredients for Grilled Cheese:
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp coarse grain mustard
- 4 slices sourdough bread, about 3/4-inch-thick
- 6 oz country ham (use either breakfast slices or julienned center cuts)
- 3 oz sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 oz gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Directions for Tomato Bisque:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the drained whole tomatoes, olive oil, light brown sugar, carrots, celery and shallots – toss to coat.
- Season the vegetables with salt and pepper. Place the vegetables on a silicone or parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until caramelized, about 30 minutes.
- Heat a soup pot over medium heat.
- Add the butter and cook until foaming.
- Add the crushed red pepper and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Then add the sherry.
- Cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the alcohol has cooked off, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the roasted vegetables, crushed tomatoes and 1 cup chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream and, using an immersion blender, puree the soup until uniform in texture. If you don’t have an immersion blender, just (carefully- it’s HOT!) ladle ingredients into a food processor.
- Add more chicken stock to adjust the consistency to how you like it.
- Return to pan before adding cream and whisking by hand.
- Serve immediately.
Directions for Grilled Cheese:
- Combine mayonnaise with mustard and thyme in a small bowl.
- Grate both cheeses together and mix.
- Evenly spread mayonnaise mixture on 2 slices bread, then layer 1/2 cheese, then ham, then remaining cheese.
- Top with remaining bread slices.
- Butter outside of top bread slice.
- Preheat grill pan or 12-inch cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and grill sandwiches – topside down first, turning once, (melt Tbsp butter, swirl around pan and flip sandwich over so bread and butter marry each other, until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side – but keep an eye and spatula on it…you don’t wanna burn it!
- Slice on the diagonal and serve alongside your bowl of tomato bisque.
This recipe is courtesy of Cool Springs Wines & Spirits staffer, Richard, and his dog, Bella.