Soup & Sandwich Dinner

When doing my weekly menu planning I often add a soup & sandwich dinner, especially in the winter. Tonight’s dinner was a creamy corn and red pepper chowder alongside a crunchy grilled cheese with rosemary and roasted red peppers.

For the soup I started by sauteeing a couple chopped leeks and thyme in some butter until they were softened.
I then stirred in some vegetable stock and frozen corn kernels (when in season, you can use fresh corn).

After letting it simmer I added some diced red bell peppers, and let it cook for a few more minutes to soften

Meanwhile, I whisked together some flour and milk, added to the pot and let it cook to thicken the soup. A bit of salt and pepper, and the soup was finished.

Corn and Red Pepper Chowder

(Adapted from Fast & Easy Cooking, Johanna Burkhard)

1 tablespoon butter
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 large red bell pepper, diced
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or chives

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add leeks and thyme; cook, stirring often, for 4 minutes or until softened. Do not brown. Stir in stock and, if using, frozen corn. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add red pepper and, if using, fresh corn; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

In a bowl, blend flour with 1/3 cup of the milk to make a smooth paste; stir in remaining milk. Stir into saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring, until thickened. Season with salt snd pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parsley or chives.
4 servings

Earlier in the afternoon I got a head start on dinner by roasting a couple red peppers.

To roast red peppers, place them on a greased sheet pan under the broiler until blackened, turning occasionally. Put them into a zip-top bag until cool enough to handle and then peel them (the skin will come right off).

I sliced some good, crusty bread and topped it with the roasted red peppers, sliced garlic, chopped fresh rosemary, and slices of cheese, and cooked the sandwiched in my panini press.After just a few minutes they were finished – YUM!!!

Rosemary-Scented Melted Jarlsberg and Red-Pepper on Soughdough
(Adapted from Grilled Cheese: 50 Recipes to Make You Melt, Marlena Spieler)

8 medium-thick slices sourdough bread
8 ounces Jarlsberg or a mild melting cheese such as Jack
2 roasted red peppers, sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Olive oil for brushing

Arrange 4 slices of bread on a work surface and top with the cheese, then add the red peppers, garlic, and rosemary. Top with the remaining bread slices and press together gently. Brush the outside of each sandwich lightly with the oil.

Heat a heavy non-stick skillet or a sandwich press over medium-high heat and add the sandwiches, working on several batches if need be. Lower the heat to medium-low, browning sandwiches slowly (press with spatula to help crisp), until lightly crisped on the outside and the cheese begins to melt. Turn over and repeat on second side.

Cut each sandwich onto halves or quarters.


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