Since I started my wine tasting business I was on a mission to come up with easy to prepare but delicious food options for my clients. These are perfect for a casual wine tasting party and allows the guest to enjoy while standing up with a glass of wine in hand. I think everyone no matter what age can appreciate a tasty grilled cheese and tomato soup pairing. Enjoy!
Ingredients for Tomato Bisque:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finally chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 2, 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Salt and white pepper
- Parmesan cheese and Italian parsley for garnish
Ingredients for Gouda & Cheddar Grilled Cheeses:
- 4 slices of crusty bread (I like sourdough)
- 4 thick slices of regular Gouda Cheese (more if desired)
- 4 thick slices of regular Cheddar Cheese (more if desired)
- 2 tablespoons of butter at room temperature
Steps for the Tomato Bisque:
- Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan on high heat and add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.
- Cover and cook on high heat stirring occasionally until vegetables are beginning to brown (about 5 minutes)
- Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar, then bring to a boil
- Cover and cook soup over moderate heat stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes
- Transfer half of the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth
- Return the puree to the saucepan, add the heavy cream and cook until the soup is just heated through
- Season the soup with salt and white pepper
- Pour into shot glasses or bowls if desired
- Garnish with Italian parsley and parmesan cheese
Steps for Gouda & Cheddar Grilled Cheeses:
- Lay out slices of bread, butter both sides of each bread slice
- Top each with equal amounts of Gouda and Cheddar cheese
- Place the two sandwiches on griddle over medium heat
- Place a sandwich press or heavy bottom skillet on top of the sandwiches to press them down
- Cook for 3-4 minutes until browned
- Flip and cook for another 2 minutes (second side takes less time)
- Slice sandwiches in rectangles (about two bites each) to be served with Tomato Bisque Shooters
Tip: Depending on how many guests you are serving adjust recipe for soup and grilled cheeses. This recipe will serve up to 8.
Wine Recommendation: Most of the time, people want wine and cheese pairing rules that will give them foolproof results. That is more difficult then people realize based on all the different variables to consider. The main things to consider when pairing wine and cheese are their respective organoleptic profiles, or the array of sensory impressions that they leave on our brains! Some main things to consider in your pairing are listed below:
- Aroma: The organoleptic profile of a cheese or a wine begins and ends with its aromas. We start by first smelling the cheese and then taking a smell of the wine which will allow us to create a preview of what their respective aromas will offer.
- Flavor: The first relationship we notice in the mouth is the one between sweet (fruit/wine) and savory (salty/cheese). The saltier the cheese, the sweeter the wine should be.
- Acidity: Now you need to factor in the acidity levels of the wine and cheese. Acidic cheese work well with puckering wines.
- Sapidity: Sapidity means the fullness and the length of flavors in a cheese and wine. If you are eating a bold cheese you need a bold wine.
- Complexity: When you have a complex cheese, pair with a simple wine. You don’t want them to clash!
- Texture: This can be contrasting or harmonious. Make sure that you don’t compromise either in the cheese or the wine.
- Finish: Even when all the factors going into the wine and cheese pairing may seem great, the finish doesn’t always end that way. Failed pairings will usually end in a pronounced metallic taste that you have most likely experienced before. Make sure it all comes together at the end so you leave your taste buds happy.
I would suggest pairing these grilled cheeses with a Garnacha which is one of the most widely planted red grapes in Spain as well as an extremely popular grape in Southern France where it is known as (Grenache). This is a powerful grape that tends to have low acidity, medium alcohol, with deep strawberry and raspberry flavors which compliment the fruity, sharp and nutty components of cheddar cheeses! You can always pair these little guys with a Cabernet Sauvignon if you want to concentrate on the flavors from the Gouda!
Photo Credit: Angie Cox