I usually make King Cake for Mardi Gras. Because: cake! But this year, it is cold-cold-cold, and while baked goods are never turned down around here, it truly is soup weather.
I made this soup on the fly a couple of weeks ago for dinner. It was so good that I made it again–this time complete with bacon and Swiss croutons–for lunch with friends a couple of days ago. They loved it, and friend Roxanne encouraged me to go ahead and post it. So here I am, posting it. I figure since it was already Cajun-spiced that Cajun-spiced tomato soup would be appropriate for Mardi Gras. We can all Laissez Les Bontemps Roulez while bundled up nice and warm.
As usual, when I think I’ve come up with something Unique and Awesome, the Internets smack me down and let me know that 19,400 people came up with unique and awesome Cajun spiced tomato soup before me. Fine. But the grilled cheese and bacon croutons are mine. Mine! (If you don’t count the 1400+ references on the Hinternets)
The first Cajun tomato soup that comes up in search is this one from Food Coma. It sounds good, and the ingredient list is short which means you get soup Very Quickly. Mine has a few more ingredients (shocking, right?) but does pay tribute to The Trinity of Cajun and Creole cuisine: onions, celery and bell pepper.
- 4 Tablespoons butter or oil
- 1 medium-to-large yellow or sweet onion , chopped
- 2 ribs celery , chopped
- 2 medium bell peppers , ribs and seeds removed, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000EXHH4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0000EXHH4&linkCode=as2&tag=pascheonl-20&linkId=4W2L2PCABUO46CAN">cajun seasoning</a><img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=pascheonl-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B0000EXHH4" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> (or to taste. If you're not a fan of really spicy, start with 1-2 teaspoons and go from there)
- 2 teaspoons each <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O9X8VU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000O9X8VU&linkCode=as2&tag=pascheonl-20&linkId=EM37IA7TTSG4TBSG">sweet and hot smoked paprika</a><img src="http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=pascheonl-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B000O9X8VU" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />
- (optional but nice. If you don't like heat, omit the hot paprika. You can also use regular sweet paprika if you don't own smoked)
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- 2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes , juice and all
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth or stock , vegetable broth or stock or water
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 6 slices your favorite bread
- Worcestershire sauce
- Grated cheese (whatever you like that melts well)
- 4-6 slices of bacon , cooked crisp and crumbled into small pieces
Heat the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan or Dutch oven.
Add the chopped vegetables and spices (cajun seasoning, sweet and hot paprika, salt and pepper) and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are softened but not browned.
Add both cans of tomatoes and the liquid (stock or water). Bring to a boil, choppping up the tomatoes as the soup heats.
Stir in the red wine vinegar and the sugar. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more spices, salt and/or pepper if you think the soup needs it.
Taste again and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Serve piping hot in mugs or bowls. Garnish with grilled cheese croutons, some cream or sour cream or just a dusting of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Toast both sides of all the slices of bread.
Sprinkle just a bit of Worcestershire sauce on three of the slices of bread.
Spread a nice layer of grated cheese on all 6 slices of bread.
Spread 1/3 of the crumbled bacon on each of three slices of the bread without the Worcestershire.
Melt the cheese under the broiler or in your toaster oven until bubbly.
Sandwich a cheese slice with a bacon and cheese slice so you have three whole sandwiches.
Remove to a rack to cool so the cheese sets up some.
With a serrated knife, cut off the crusts of each sandwich, reserving them for your own snacking pleasure.
Cut the remaining crustless sandwiches into 12-20 small squares (I cut mine in 16). Place on parchment or foil and return to the oven or toaster oven to keep warm until the soup is ready.
Garnish each bowl of soup with a handful of croutons, a drizzle of oil and some black pepper or a bit of sour cream or cream.
About that Food Coma tomato soup up there? Well, I was reading the comments, and I came across this:
Soup, soup, a-tasty
soup, soup, a-spicy
carrot and corriander!
crunchy friends in a liquid broth!
I am gazpacho, ooh!
I am a summer soup, mmm!
fighting in the dojo
oriental prince in the land of soup!
I was impressed and amazed that anyone would find soup so worthy of poetry, especially in blog comments. My friend Lisa, who is Very Smart, told me it’s from a scene in the British comedy show The Mighty Boosh. Here it is, should you wish to hear it set to music.
Now I am inspired to write my own Ode to Soup. And Mardi Gras.
Base of all the tastiness
That comes from Louisiana
Spicy tomato, silky soup
Warms us on this icy day
And in the parades the krewes proclaim
Soup-soup-soup hooray hooray!
And there you have it. Should you feel inspired to write an Ode to Soup, please share it in the comments.
Thank you for spending some time with me here today. Have a lovely day.