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30-Minute Get Real Meals: Grilled Tomato Stoup with Prosciutto and Mozzarella Portobellos

Another successful recipe from 30-Minute Get Real Meals, although not completely without problems. I’m not a fan of cutesy names for food. “Stoup” strikes me as... well, dumb. It’s a soup! It’s a stew! It’s “Stoup!” Whatever... Besides, the texture of this “stoup” is nowhere near stew-status. It’s soup. Just soup. Nothing wrong with calling it what it is.

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The first thing that struck me as weird with the recipe (okay, the second thing, after “stoup”) was the instruction to heat up an outdoor grill, or an indoor grill pan, and then to also preheat the oven to 450 degrees. You're supposed to grill the tomatoes and bread, but roast the portobellos in the oven. Why? I have no idea. Not wanting to heat up my house, I cooked the mushrooms on the grill right alongside the tomatoes, and they turned out swell. The only reason I can think of to cook the mushrooms and tomatoes separately is to keep within the time constraints of the book, but if you've got a grill bigger than a hibachi, I don’t see what the issue is. And if you don’t have a grill at all, you could cook all the elements of this soup in the oven. The tomatoes and bread can be browned under the broiler, and then the portobellos can be roasted. Either way, only one is needed: oven or grill. Not oven and grill.

Ray’s side note about the recipe notes that it can be made completely without bread, but that she can’t resist adding it. I concur: the consistency requires some bread. I used a BIG slice (about 1 1/2 inches thick) from the middle of a country-style loaf of artisan bread. If you like your soup a bit thicker, you could use more bread. But don’t leave it out, whatever you do. Life’s too short to be afraid of a few carbs.

As written, the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of hot red pepper flakes. This produced a bit of a kick; if you don’t like spicy food, reduce the amount of red pepper by half, or more. The instructions don’t bother to remind the cook to remove the thyme sprigs from the soup, and while it may seem obvious, I do think the reminder should be there, just in case. Also sloppy: the instructions call for the plum tomatoes to be halved, but there's no instruction to remove the stem ends, which are hard and inedible. I recommend that you use a paring knife to quickly cut out the stem end of the tomatoes (just like hulling strawberries) before halving them.

The other weird thing about this recipe is the Prosciutto and Mozzarella Portobellos themselves. Are they a garnish? A side dish? What the heck? The recipe says to serve them “alongside” the soup, which means you need a plate, fork, and knife for this mushroom cap topped with ham and cheese. It’s a bit bizarre. Not wanting to dirty up all those extra dishes (plus figuring that simpler is always better) I decided to try chopping the portobellos and adding them into the soup. This was delicious, as well as easier to eat. The soup can be garnished with slices of fresh mozzarella, and bits of prosciutto if you wish. I left the prosciutto off altogether after trying it on the mushroom caps, and the final dish doesn’t miss it at all.

Like many soups, this one tastes better the day after it is made. If you have time to make it ahead, definitely do so. The flavors meld together and become quite complex after the soup has sat in the refrigerator for a day or two.



Grilled Tomato-Portobello Soup with Fresh Mozzarella
(revised version)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 large portobello mushrooms, stems discarded
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes (for less-spicy soup, use 1/4 to 1/2 tsp)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 quart chicken stock or broth
8 large plum tomatoes, stems cored and halved lengthwise
1 slice (1 to 2 inches thick) crusty bread
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
4 Tbsp store-bought pesto, optional
4 slices prosciutto, optional

If using a grill: Preheat the grill. Drizzle portobellos, tomatoes, and bread slice with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place mushrooms, tomatoes, and bread on grill and char on all sides, about 5 minutes (bread may take less time; watch carefully). Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly, then chop bread roughly. Chop portobellos into fine dice and set aside separately until serving time.

If using the oven: Preheat the broiler. Drizzle portobellos, tomatoes, and bread slice with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place mushrooms and tomatoes on a baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes. Turn veggies over with tongs and continue broiling until mushrooms are well browned and tomatoes are charred, about 5 more minutes. Broil bread during last 2 minutes of cooking time. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then roughly chop the bread. Chop portobellos into fine dice and set aside separately until serving time.

While charring veggies and bread, make the soup base. Place a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, and thyme sprigs. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for ten minutes.

To make the soup, combine the charred tomatoes and chopped bread in a blender with about 1 cup of the broth mixture. Purée until smooth. Remove thyme sprigs from broth, then pour the purée back into the soup pot and combine well with remaining broth. Simmer about 5 more minutes. Add reserved portobellos and simmer 2 to 3 more minutes, or until heated through.

To serve, top soup with thin slices of fresh mozzarella, a dollop of pesto, and bite-sized bits of prosciutto, if desired.



Grilled Tomato Stoup with Prosciutto and Mozzarella Portobellos
from 30-Minute Get Real Meals

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 large portobello mushrooms, stems discarded
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 quart chicken stock or broth
8 large plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 slice crusty bread
4 slices prosciutto
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
4 Tbsp store-bought pesto, optional

Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan on high. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

Place the portobello mushrooms on a baking sheet. Season both sides with salt and pepper and arrange the mushrooms gill side up. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Put them in the oven and roast for 12 minutes, or until cooked through.

While the mushrooms are roasting, start the soup. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and thyme sprigs. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the chicken stock ad bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer the stoup for 10 minutes.

Drizzle olive oil over the plum tomatoes and season them with salt and pepper. Place on the grill and char on all sides, about 5 minutes. Drizzle the slice of bread with a little olive oil, place on the grill, and cook until well marked on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and bread slice from the grill and roughly chop. Add them to a blender with about 1/4 of the simmering broth. Purée for about 1 minute. Add the tomato-bread purée to the simmering soup and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Top each portobello cap with a slice of prosciutto and a slice of mozzarella. Return to the oven or the grill, and heat until cheese melts. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with pesto, if desired. Serve the portobellos alongside.

 

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