A Simple Dinner For A Busy Weeknight: Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Apple & Smoked Turkey & Cream of Cauliflower Soup.

I’m not a huge sandwich lover. I’ll take a bowl of noodles or rice over bread any day. Occasionally if I’m in a hurry I’ll grab one for lunch, but absolutely not for dinner. In my opinion bread and cold cuts just don’t meet the qualifications to be served as the final meal of the day. But last week at the end of a busy day I opened the refrigerator door and began cursing myself for not going grocery shopping. There were the usual residents: milk, cream, & cheese. I spotted a head of cauliflower, an apple in the bottom drawer & a lone smoked turkey leg (I had recently used the other limb to flavor a broth, but hadn’t gotten around to using this one yet). I then remembered that I also had a gorgeous loaf of fresh challah bread sitting on the kitchen counter. In my exhaustion the simplicity of throwing together a warm soup and buttery sandwich suddenly became a tantalizing dinner option.

The soup is one I’d made many times before: cream of cauliflower soup from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home cookbook. It’s ridiculously simple & satisfying. My favorite part is the fact that there’s no need to strain the soup. Which means I don’t have to spend 10 agonizing minutes willing the thick soup though the tiny openings of a fine mesh sieve.

I wanted the sandwich to take the place of both the croutons and beet chips that Thomas Keller’s recipe calls for. I layered Havarti cheese, thin slices of apple and smoked turkey atop thickly sliced challah bread. The bread was smeared with whole grain mustard on the inside and a generous amount of Irish butter on the outside.

There wasn’t anything about the crunchy bread, gooey cheese & salty, smoky meat that I didn’t love. Finally, the tartness from the apple paired beautifully with the hint of curry in the velvety cauliflower soup. Perhaps a sandwich can be a satisfying dinner after all.

Soup Ingredients:
(adapted from Ad Hoc At Home)
1 head of cauliflower
3 Tbs. butter
½ medium onion, diced
1 small leek, sliced (white and light green parts only)
¼ tsp. curry powder
Salt
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups water

  • Remove the leaves & core from the cauliflower. Cut the stem and florets into 1-inch sized pieces.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks and curry powder. Cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower & 2 tsp. of salt
  • Cover with a cocked lid and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Increase the heat. Add the milk, cream and water. When the liquid comes to a hard simmer turn the heat down to medium and simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is very soft.
  • Remove from the heat. Blend the mixture in batches in a Vita-Mix or regular blender. Start on low and finish by blending on high for a few moments. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. *This soup is quite thick so feel free to add a touch more water if you prefer a thinner soup.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, & sprinkle a pinch of fleur de sel over the top right before serving 

Sandwich Ingredients:
Challah bread
Havarti or cheddar cheese
1 Fuji apple, peeled & thinly sliced
Smoked turkey breast, thinly sliced
Whole grain mustard
Butter

  • Spread the whole grain mustard on the insides of the bread. (Full disclosure: I add a touch of mayo to my sandwich as well… hubby prefers his sandwich not tarnished by Canada’s favorite condiment)
  • Layer with cheese, apple slices and smoked turkey
  • Close the sandwich and butter the outside.
  • Grill in a pan over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Finish in a 350° toaster or oven. The sandwich is ready when the cheese is gooey and melted!
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