You're gonna need a bigger pot-- this dish as an absolute classic!
|2 tbsp||(30 mL) Olive oil|
|2||Stalks celery, chopped|
|3||Cloves garlic, peeled, smashed|
|12||Roma tomatoes, chopped|
|8 cups||(2 L) Vegetable broth|
|10||Slices Dempster’s® Stays Fresh® White Bread, divided|
|1 1/3 cups||(325 mL) Grated Cheddar cheese|
|6||Slices Maple Leaf® Bacon, chopped and cooked|
|1/4 cup||(60 mL) Softened butter|
|1/3 cup||(80 mL) Whipping cream (35 %)|
|Salt and Pepper|
|2 tbsp||(30 mL) Freshly chopped basil|
HEAT olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Sauté for 5-6 minutes. Add tomatoes, bay leaves and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes. Pour in vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove from the heat.
REMOVE bay leaves and sprig of thyme. Break up 2 slices of bread and add to the soup. Using a hand blender or regular blender, puree soup until smooth. Return to the stove over low heat.
ASSEMBLE grilled cheese for croutons. Sprinkle 1/3 cup (60 mL) of grated cheese over each of 4 slices of bread. Divide the bacon bits between the bread, sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with remaining bread. Butter each side of the sandwich.
HEAT a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Grill cheese sandwiches for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden. Remove from the pan to a cutting board and cut into 1-2 inch (2.5-5 cm) squares.
STIR cream into soup and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle hot soup into serving bowls and garnish with fresh basil and bacon-grilled cheese croutons. Serve immediately.
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