Let’s gear up for Monday Night Football! When temperatures drop and evenings become chilly, when there is a bite in the air and frost on the car windows in the morning you know that it’s fall. Before the heavy duty holiday entertaining starts why not have friends over for a Sunday or Monday themed football party.
Simply turn on the TV, set out coolers of beer and bottles of wine. Add some sodas, juices and bottled water for the kids.
For your menu serve a classic children’s favorite, but glam it up so it’s more gourmet and grown up. Yes, we are talking about tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. The soup can be made a day in advance. The day of the party slice, and skillet toast the bread, grate the cheese and then set everything out just before guests arrive.
Use the last of your home grown tomatoes to make a creamy tomato soup. Our favorite recipe follows:
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 Yellow onion diced
- 2 Garlic gloves, chopped
- 4 Cups, chopped tomatoes
- 3 Cups chicken stock, homemade if at all possible but low sodium from the store works too
- Splash of Cream
- Kosher Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
Melt butter over medium high heat in a deep skillet. Add onions and garlic. Sweat the onions and garlic until they are clear and softened – about 15 minutes.
Add tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 20 – 30 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft.
Working in batches, transfer soup to the jar of a blender and puree until smooth. Return to saucepan and place over medium heat. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soup is heated through. If soup seems too thick, stir in some extra stock to thin. Makes 6 cups.
For the grilled cheese offer sourdough, rye, pullman or whole grain. Instead of American cheese or velveeta use cheddar, fontina, mozzarella, Gruyere and Swiss. Grate the cheese so that it melts more evenly.
Why not add ham (goes great with Gruyere), prosciutto (goes great with mozzarella), or bacon (goes with anything). Don’t forget spreads like whole grain mustard, sauerkraut, fig jam and for garnish – minced chives.
Let everyone make their own sandwich and cook them a la minute. Serve with a mug of tomato soup.
Now that’s what we call a party! Da Bears!