Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Creamy Tomato Soup with a Mushroom-Provolone Panini

It has been really cold in Memphis, so I've been in soup mode lately. I was really in the mood for a thick, yet light tomato soup and I found
this recipe on foodnetwork.com. I decided to make it with vegetable broth and to leave out the prosciutto. I made up the panini recipe on my own. I love this panini they make at Panera Bread with mushrooms and mozzarella. This recipe is very similar. For a different twist, you could also add caramelized onions and/or roasted red bellpeppers.

Creamy Tomato Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 large clove minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 28oz can pureed tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup light cream or half and half

Sautee onion, celery, carrot, bay leave and garlic in butter until tender and beginning to caramelize. Add the tomato paste and sautee about 2 minutes. Add the flour and sautee two more minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except the half and half/cream. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the half and half. Puree with an immersian blender or a regular blender, or serve as is.

Mushroom-Provolone Panini

3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/8c marsala cooking wine or vegetable broth
1/8 c vegetable broth
Sliced provolone
Sour dough bread

Melt butter with olive oil in a sautee pan. Add the mushrooms. Season with thyme and pepper. Sautee about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and tender. Add the wine and broth. Cook until liquid evaporates. Remove from heat. Preheat a George Foreman indoor grill (this is what I used to make mine), panini press, or pan. Butter two slices of sour dough bread. Lay three slices of cheese on the unbuttered side of one of the pieces of bread. Spoon some of the mushrooms evenly on top. Top with the second piece of bread. Grill sandwich until crispy and light brown on both sides and cheese is nicely melted. Serve immediately.