I was recently sent a lovely hamper filled with goodies and asked to come up with a "Winter Warmer" recipe using some of them. There were so many things it would have been possible to come up with one recipe which would use them all, but I certainly can come up with more than a few different recipes using a variety of the ingredients.
The term "Winter Warmers" symbolized comfort to me, something we all long for and cling to when the cold weather hits and this challenge could not have come at a better time as this weeks thermometer has dipped down into single and minus digits! Brrr. . .
There is nothing nicer when the air gets cold than staying snug indoor by the fire. The cold temperatures inspire us to eat heartier and soups, stews and casseroles are the order of the day. When I saw the ingredients in the hamper I was immediately inspired to want to create a hand and heart warming soup.
There is nothing nicer to warm the soul on a chilly day than a nice hot bowl of soup. The Toddster he likes thick and creamy soups . . . I like chunky soups. Today his desires won out and I created him a delicious creamy Herby Tomato and White Cheddar Soup which I topped with some cheesy croutes to serve. The soup itself is a testimony to good store cupboard ingredients . . using things like tinned tomatoes (there are some really nice ones out there today) and stock pots. I used both the chicken stock pots and the herby stock pots to give the soup a lovely rich and herbed base.
I also used thinly sliced leeks. Leeks give soup such a wonderful flavour don't you think? The Toddster loves leeks in anything, except perhaps dessert! I added some sour cream and cheddar cheese to give it added depth and a creamy richness.
I topped it with some crunchy and buttery cheesy croutes. Not quite rarebits, but little buttery toasted topped with a mayonnaise, onion and cheese mixture which is then grilled until golden brown and bubbling. They added a lovely touch to the top of the soup and a brilliant presentation. (These croutes on their own and cut into smaller shapes before grilling make fabulous appetizer bites as well!)
Simple and easy enough to enjoy as a lovely light supper, but at the same time rich and flavourful enough to be used as a first course party dish. Enjoy!
*Herby Tomato and White Cheddar Soup*with Cheesy Croutes
Note, if you are unable to get chicken stock pots, you can just replace the water in the soup with a good chicken stock, and add up to 3 TBS of fresh chopped herbs. I would use parsley, marjoram, and thyme. I would also add a broken bay leaf. Remove the bay leaf before pureeing.