When I was growing up my mother would always find a way to keep me warm on a cool fall day with a hot bowl of soup and a fresh-pressed sandwich. Even after all these years I love having simple, comforting lunches. There is no parallel on a cold afternoon than making a pot of seasonal soup and my version of grilled cheese.
The combination is a classic example of comfort food. A piping hot cup of roasted vegetable soup and a sandwich with melting aged cheddar trapped inside thick slices of golden buttered toast. Gone are the slices of processed cheese and plain white bread instead replaced by aged crumbling cheddar and country-fresh bread. A dish straight out of my Canadian childhood made with a modern twist.
On Sunday afternoon we had a couple of friends drop in for a visit. My wife needed help with a software program and that's just not up my alley, so I scurried down to the kitchen to be back in more comfortable surroundings. The cold winds outside that day were strong enough to tackle a grown man and send shivers up and down your body and there's only real cure for that. Delicious, hot soup.
I had some butternut squash left from the night before so I decided to roast the squash with some apples and onions and make a rich, luxurious soup to keep us warm. The secret to this flavourful soup is to roast all the vegetables, then afterwards adding them to the seasonings and stock. I add some fresh thyme and a bay leaf and simmer the stock and roasted vegetables for about 25 minutes, or until the flavours have joined forces together. I finish by puréeing all the ingredients together until smooth and velvety. I garnish this soup with some chopped pecans lightly toasted and brushed with maple syrup.
|6 levels of goodness!|
I only use fresh loaves of bread when I make grilled cheese sandwiches, not plain packaged white bread that seems to attack the shelves. I prefer a country-loaf or a big old french loaf cut into thick slices to have a bit of extra texture in every bite. I slather on a layer of garlic aioli on a slice and top it with thinly sliced aged Canadian cheddar. The next layer is a few slices of double-smoked bacon followed by thin cut Granny Smith apples and a few turns of the pepper grinder. That's topped with with the second thick bread slice. I spread a thin layer of basil butter on each of the outside slices and pan-fry it over medium-low for a few minutes each side or until the cheese begins to melt and the bread is a golden-brown colour. This sandwich flirts with the trifecta of flavour: salty, sweet and sour.
There isn't anything better on a cold day than dipping your buttery melted cheese sandwich into the smooth soup. The think country loaf soaks up every ounce of flavour from the soup. It's the perfect Sunday lunch option and the perfect way to send home your friends happy and wanting more.
Labels: grilled cheese, Sandwich, soup, squash and apple soup