The epitome of classic American comfort food is a gooey grilled cheese sandwich served alongside a steaming bowl of creamy tomato soup. Here at Team Traeger, we can't help but see a classic dish like this and think about how we can ramp up the flavor with some good old Traeger magic. We roasted some delicious heirloom tomatoes for the soup and then added (what else?) thick-cut peppered bacon to the grilled cheese before throwing it on the grill for a nice crunchy crust. This isn't your Mom's canned tomato soup and grilled American cheese sandwich of your childhood... it is SOOO much better.
Roasted Tomato Cream Soup with Grilled Bacon Cheddar Sandwiches
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes to an hour
Recommended Pellets: Hickory, Oak, or Pecan
For the Soup:
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1½ cups chopped yellow onions
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (we used heirloom tomatoes, 3-5 depending on size)
1½ teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup heavy cream
Julienned fresh basil leaves, for garnish
For the Grilled Cheese:
12 slices thick cut peppered bacon
8 slices sharp cheddar cheese
8 slices sourdough bread
4-6 tablespoons salted butter
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes, until very tender.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.
While the soup simmers, start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid on for 4-5 minutes to establish the fire. Close the lid and turn the temperature up to High (400 degrees). Allow the grill to preheat for 10-15 minutes. Place the tomatoes and the bacon slices directly on the grill grate. Roast for 10-15 minutes until the bacon starts to brown on one side and the tomatoes are sweating and charred on one side. Flip them all over and grill for an additional 10-15 minutes. Tomatoes are done when the skin has started to split.
Remove the tomatoes to a cutting board and coarsely chop. Add them to the soup mixture. Remove the bacon to a separate plate and set aside. Leave the grill on and close the lid.
Add the cream to the soup and puree with an immersion blender or in small batches in a blender.
Cover the soup and keep the over low heat while you assemble the grilled cheese sandwiches. Butter each piece of bread, lay down two slices of cheese and top with the cooked bacon.
Return the the grill and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side until browned and crisp.
Dish up the soup and top with julienned basil leaves. Slice the sandwiches along the diagonal and serve next to the warm soup.