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Gastronaut Bob Blumer’s Cream of Nostalgia Soup with Bacon & Grilled Cheese

Cream of Nostalgia Soup with Bacon & Grilled Cheese

Gastronaut Bob Blumer
Few things in life that can compete with the nostalgia of cream of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. But if anything can, it’s this deeply satisfying, modern-day version. Add a grilled cheese sandwich with a complex, aromatic cheese and an extra crispy crust, and you will be flooded with memories of your youth—as channeled through the sophisticated tastes of your adult life. Cream of nostalgia soup with bacon
~ Pair with Lloyd Cellars 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Prep Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 6 People

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Head garlic
  • 12 Strips best-available bacon about ½ pound
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Small yellow onion diced
  • ½ Fennel bulb cored and chopped, or 3 celery stalks
  • 1 Carrot chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Flour
  • 1 - 28 ounce Can tomatoes whole or chopped
  • 5 cups Best-available chicken stock
  • 1 Bouquet garnis with 6 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme and 2 bay leaves, broken.
  • 2 teaspoons Harissa
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ - ½ cup Heavy cream optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat toaster oven or oven to 400°F.
  • Slice the pointy top off garlic to expose each of the cloves. Set on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in the foil. Roast until cloves are lightly browned and tender, about 50 minutes. Reserve.
  • In a large pot, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and all but roughly 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Reserve bacon.
  • To the pot, over medium-high heat, add butter, onion, fennel and carrot. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables start to brown. Add flour and stir constantly for 1 minute, allowing the flour to brown slightly (this thickens the soup in the same way that a roux is used to thicken gumbo). Add tomatoes along with all the juices, stock, 10 strips of bacon, and bouquet garnis.
    Simmer for 30 minutes.
    Let soup cool, remove bouquet garnis and squeeze out remaining juices back into the pot. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves directly into the pot and add harissa.
    Purée soup in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The soup is plenty rich and creamy as is, but if you really want to go for the gusto, finish with cream or drizzle a bit over top before serving.
    Serve in warmed soup bowls. Crumble remaining bacon over top.
    For the grilled cheese sandwich (per sandwich)
    2 slices sourdough loaf
    2 slices cave-aged Gruyere cheese, or any Gruyere, or emmental
    2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    Make a cheese sandwich, then spread the outside of each side with mayonnaise. Grill in a panini makeror a frying pan until well-browned and crispy.
Keyword Bacon, Bob Blumer, Grilled Cheese, Lloyd Cellars, Pinot Noir, Soup