Sunday, March 4, 2012

recipes: gussied up grilled cheese sandwiches with jamie oliver’s real mushroom soup

Jamie Oliver's Real Mushroom Soup (photo: mine)

I’ve been making my way through cookbooks at the library, and I came up with this meal idea when I ran across Jamie Oliver’s recipe for "The Real Mushroom Soup" in Jamie’s Dinners. I wanted to add something alongside the soup that I could make for the kids, too (they aren't fond of mushrooms yet, heh), so I came with these gussied up grilled cheese sandwiches that I adapted from recipes I’d pinned on Pinterest.

First the soup, the recipe of which you can find here. I had fun shopping for this one—I’d not used mascarpone cheese or the dried porcini mushrooms before. I found some oyster and shitake mushrooms and then bagged another half pound of mixed wild mushrooms  in the produce department of our local Giant. I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter (except I substituted basil for the thyme as I didn’t have any), soaking the porcini while I sliced up and cooked the mushrooms, garlic, basil and onions in some butter and a little oil in my dutch oven on the stove. I added the porcini, the liquid it soaked in and some chicken stock and let the whole mixture cook for 20 minutes.

gussied up grilled cheese sandwiches (photo credit: mine)
Meanwhile, I assembled all the ingredients for the grilled cheese sandwiches. For the kids, I placed a couple of slices of American cheese and some crumbled just-cooked bacon (I used the microwave to cook the bacon—fast and easy) between two slices of bread buttered on the outside. For my husband and me, however, I got a little more creative:
~ grated mozzarella cheese 
~ Trader Joe’s Basil Pesto 
~ crumbled bacon pieces 
~ thin slices of fresh tomatoes
There are endless ideas out there to dress up grilled cheese—use whatever your taste buds crave. I brushed the outside of the bread slices with olive oil and then layered the sandwiches with the mozzarella, pesto, bacon, tomato slices and some more cheese. 

By this time, the soup was done, so I purreed half of it in a blender and added it back and turned off the burner. While the cheese sandwiches browned in a frying pan, I ladled the soup into bowls, added a dab of mascarpone cheese and chopped fresh parsley and served it all nicely warm and yummy. A wonderful winter evening dinner!

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