Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Michael Symon's Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup 10.18.11

It was soup day!!!

I love soups.  And the whole day did not disappoint.  This was a close call, as there was a gulf shrimp and grits soup recipe that looked really good as well.  But, in the end I decided to go with what I had in stock.

BTW, just a couple of days earlier I was shopping at Sam's Club, the big Costco-like warehouse store.and spied a HUGE can of tomatoes for less than $3.  Serendipity.

Click the photo above to see my
review of Michael's other Tomato Soup
I did find this interesting that Michael would post a second tomato soup just a few days apart.  Interesting, but there is very little comparison.  The soup that he used as an accent for a fancy grilled cheese was a quicky (it really did come together in about 5 minutes).  Savory seasoned, with Cumin and thick, almost like a dip.

Whereas, this is a spicy soup, seasoned with Sriracha sauce (the hot "rooster" sauce).  The spice is cut a bit with cream and blue cheese, but it is spiced instead of savory.

I made a few changes...

I was all set to add the chicken stock to the soup as it was cooking.  But, since the juices from the big can of tomatoes was added, as the tomatoes cooked down, what was left was still a thick soup (as I like).  Adding stock would have thinned it out too much for my taste.  I added 1/4 cup of stock, but saw the beautiful thick luscious soup being thinned and stopped at that small amount.

The soup also calls for a tiny amount of fresh oregano.  First, I did not have any, second, I was using canned tomatoes at the height of tomato picking season and third, I have a pretty good dried spice mix that I use (combined with a little bit of lemon zest).  This way, I was able to make this a pantry soup, something I generally have all of the ingredients on hand.

BTW, I make my own Mediterranean spice mix I call, "Not Your Grandmother's Herbes de Provence".  You will be seeing this ALOT.  It's a fast way to add that special savory taste to any dish.  I make about 2 cups worth a month and bit by bit, it is gone!  Tastes great on everything from eggs to chicken and anything in between!

While Oregano spice on it's own is fine, It was so much easier to just add a couple of TBS of this...

Here's my formula...

  • 1 part dried tarragon
  • 1 part dried Oregano
  • 1 part dried Dill
  • 1 part dried Rosemary
  • 1 part dries Thyme
  • 1 part dried Garlic Flakes
  • 1/2 part course grind Sea Salt
  • 1/2 part fresh ground Peppercorns
  • 1/2 part fresh Lemon Zest
    Note: if I know I am going to use this up in a week or two, I will go ahead and zest the lemon.  Sometimes I make enough to last a month or two with no real plans to use it.  On those occasions, I do not add lemon zest, instead I will add fresh zest as I make whatever recipe I am using the spice mix.

And I made a very simple grilled cheese (just provolone) to go with the soup!

You can see Michael's original recipe by clicking HERE.  I did simmer the tomatoes much longer than Michael implied, about 2 hours at a very low simmer.  In my opinion, it breaks the tomatoes down better, allowing the sweetness to come through... before we added to Sriracha sauce!!!

The recipe made a huge pot.  Easily a dozen servings.  Perfect for a cool fall weeknight and plenty of lunches afterwards.  And with the very inexpensive huge box store can of tomatoes, this comes in at less than a dollar a serving.  The budget buster is the blue cheese, but if you shop carefully, it is a great budget saving soup!

I mean WOW, great taste, a pantry soup and a budget dream!

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