A portion of yesterday afternoon was spent cleaning out the garden and taking stock of what’s left for the months ahead. (Thanks to particularly determined slugs and an infestation of cabbage worms, not much.) In fact, other than the perennial herbs, the only thing that seemed gleefully happy to be alive was a small patch of sorrel. The sorrel was a holdover from a period of excitement I had over obscure culinary herbs (lovage! chocolate mint!) only to realize they’re obscure for a reason.
There’s not much to be done with the sorrel. (Ignore the thyme in the picture. I was going to use it for the soup, but I changed my mind.) It’s certainly attractive, but it’s tart and very tannic, not unlike sourgrass. I’ve done a few things with it (salads, soups, even a panade), but nothing turned out particularly spectacular. This sandwich, though, has been the best use so far. The blue cheese is strong enough to stand up to the sorrel without overpowering it. (I did not come up with the idea myself; I would’ve never thought of it. It came from this article [link] a friend printed out for me when I was having the same sorrel problem a year ago.)
I trust readers of this site know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich (and if they don’t, they clearly have the Internet to Google instructions better than ones I could give), so I’m not going to go into great detail except to say 1. I chiffonade-d the sorrel, and 2. Don’t cut bread slices as thick as I did. If you do, put a lid over the sandwiches on the skillet/griddle to generate enough heat to melt the cheese.
Now, as for the soup, there are a million ways to make tomato soup (my husband’s method, buying a can of Campbell’s, is not one of them), and all of them are quite easy. I like to thicken bisque-like soups with bread rather than cream (both because it’s healthier and, given that I bake 6 loaves of bread a week, there’s always some around), but this might pose a problem to people without an immersion blender. A way around this would be to tear any crusts off the bread and rip it into teeny-tiny pieces, or just bite the bullet and use cream.
This makes 2 servings. (With seconds of soup.)
1/3 of a homemade sourdough boule: 11 cents
3/4 of a $2 container of blue cheese (Grocery Outlet): $1.50
Handful of sorrel from yard: $0
2 T butter (Costco): 13 cents
TOTAL: $1.74/2 = 87 cents
1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes (Hunt’s, on markdown at Grocery Outlet because it was “heart-healthy sodium-free,” which apparently frightened people): 87 cents
Handful of stale homemade bread, torn into small pieces: 5 cents
Bay leaf (bulk): 2 cents
1 onion, sliced: 25 cents
1 carrot, diced: 5 cents
2 T olive oil: 10 cents
Pinch of red pepper flakes (bulk): 2 cents
Kosher salt: 2 cents
1 T brown sugar (bulk): 5 cents
2 cups chicken broth left over from scraps & carcass: $0
TOTAL: $1.43/2 = 72 cents
87 cents + 72 cents = $1.59/person
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat, add the sliced onions and diced carrots, pepper flakes, bay leaf, and kosher salt to taste (if you don’t feel comfortable adding salt by sight, just add it at the end), reduce heat to medium and cook until onion and carrots are softened, 5-6 minutes.
Add tomatoes with juice, sugar and bread, and simmer about 5-10 minutes more, until bread and tomatoes have broken down. Help them along by mashing with a spoon.
If you have an immersion blender, remove the bay leaf and blend, adding a little bit of stock at a time. If you don’t have an immersion blender, do this in batches in a regular blender. Make sure it’s really pureed well. Push the soup through a strainer and put back into the pot to reheat, adding more stock to thin if necessary. Season to taste. (Is there a food blogger award for most battered, disgusting-looking equipment? If so, someone please enter me.)