TOMATO CHEDDAR SOUP
Cooking with Shelburne Farms
A steaming bowl of cream of tomato soup is always wonderful paired with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich. We decided to put the soup and the cheddar all in one bowl, making for a familiar yet unexpected taste. If you really want to go all the way, melt a little more grated cheddar on a piece of toasted crusty bread and set it adrift in your soup.
Before You Start
Buy the best sharp cheddar you can find, aged six months to one year. Once you add the cheese to the soup, it is important not to let it boil. If you cannot find canned, fire-roasted tomatoes such as those made by Muir Glen, buy whole canned tomatoes, drain them (reserving their puree), lay them on a rimmed cookie sheet and put them under a hot broiler for about 3-4 minutes per side until lightly charred. Then use them with the reserved puree as directed in step 6.
Makes: 4 bowls or 6 cups
• 1 packed cup (about 4 ounces) finely grated cheddar
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 small onion, diced (about 1/3 cup)
• 1 cup half-and-half or whole milk
• 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, preferably fire-roasted
• 1 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt plus more to taste
• Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. In a small bowl, toss the grated cheddar with the flour, making sure to coat all shreds. Set aside.
2. In a large, wide soup pot set over medium-high heat, melt the butter until foamy. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent but not colored, about 3—4 minutes.
3. Add the half-and-half to the pot, bring to a simmer, and simmer gently for 3-4 minutes. Take the pot off the heat.
4. Using your hands, lift the cheddar from the bowl and whisk handfuls into the hot half-and-half mixture until the mixture is smooth.
5. Add the tomatoes with their puree, the allspice, and the salt to the soup base and stir. Return the pot to medium heat for 3-4 minutes and cook, stirring to blend. Do not allow the soup to boil.
6. Using an immersion blender, a food processor, or a blender, blend the soup in batches. (Always use caution working with hot soup).
7. Return the soup to the pot over medium-low heat and warm it gently just until a few bubbles rise to the surface. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.