“The only thing better than a Sandwich; Soup and Sandwich”
by Guest Blogger The Philz
Preface: I love soup. Making it and eating it. If you don’t like soup, this blog isn’t for you.
There you are, just home from a late night out and you have a bit of a nom. You open your pantry and see bread. Hold it up to the light, inspect for mold. Check. All clear.
Goto the fridge, look inside and all you see is beer and condiments. Crap. Naturally. Right before admitting defeat, or perhaps in the moment where a blank stare takes over thanks to the calm provided by the rush of cool air across your face, you realize you forgot to check the cheese drawer.
Thankfully there’s a nubbin left of some aged Gouda, free of mold as well, and you set out on your mission; Mission Grilled Cheese.
We all know the story and have all been there, but what happens when we take something so humbly simple as the grilled cheese, or any sandwich really, and PRE-PLAN this meal into our weeknight dinner. Certainly, in college, a grilled cheese in and of itself would have been enough of a “meal”, but getting older I find myself always wanting to add balance and nutrition to my meals. One can add veggies to the sandwich, just as our own Dobish loves to do with the addition of some peculiar, uncommonly used sandwich toppings such as carrots, pecans, ginger, raw garlic, roasted corn, or asparagus.
But stop. Adding toppings shouldn’t always be the primary consideration.
I’d argue that a grilled cheese is perfection in the buttered bread and cheese, though I know Dobish disagrees. The grilled cheese neither needs nor wants anything more. The key to improving the grilled cheese, or in fact, many other sandwiches, lies not between the bread, but on the side.
I’d wager that 9/10 of the readers, that would be at least 9 out of all 10 people who actually read this blog, are thinking of tomato soup at this instant. Grilled Cheese + Tomato soup.
Grilled cheese, tomato soup, and perhaps a little green salad on the side; A Weeknight dinner that’s delicious, filling, balanced, nutritious, and perhaps somewhat grown up, but this isn’t a Dietician’s blog. This is a blog about sandwiches….well, it’s a website where there are infrequently mediocre blogs about sandwiches, but for the most part, it’s a quiet corner of the SandwInterBlogs.
What all 10 of you care about is the sandwich and sandwich experience and improving that experience. I’m here to say that I think soup is ONE way that we can achieve this, and unfortunately isn’t given as much attention as perhaps it should. Just think for a moment, most sandwiches out there, would likely benefit from a dunking in an appropriately paired soup. Even a Jimmy Johns pile of suck, I’m looking at you Dave, would benefit from a dunking of soup, perhaps a roasted red pepper soup. But as is par for the course on this blog, there are rules to dunking.
I can hear a good many of you sigh right at that instant. Rules. More rules. But let’s be honest, we probably don’t want to dip a sandwich with poor structure, many layers, loose toppings, or things susceptible to dissolving or disintegrating in soup to be dunked into said soup. That would create an experience whose whole is less than the sum of its parts, and we don’t want that. I’d also suggest that dunking into a chunky/hearty soup, like a minestrone or a meaty chili with beans, might not be a harmonious dunking pairing to any sandwich. Those soups are really more suited to plain bread dunking. Certainly some of these heartier soups pair excellently with sandwiches, but in some respects, most people do not dunk in these and each remain separate throughout the experience…or at best, these are used as toppings, such as chili on a burger.
But beyond those simple rules, or perhaps “guidelines” if you will, I’m going to say go for it and have fun experimenting with what you dunk into what. Here are some of my other favorite soups to pair when dunking sandwiches;
Tuna Salad with gazpacho (great in summer!)
Halibut on ciabatta with roasted corn bisque
Roast Beef with French Onion (Take that French Dip!)
“Thanksgiving” sandwich with acorn or butternut squash
Tortas with a tortilla soup
Shawarma and lentil soup
Almost Anything with Roasted Red pepper soup
Palomilla steak sandwich with Cuban black beans
Turkey with goat cheese and a lightly curried carrot soup (my dinner a few nights ago!)
So the next time you sit down with one of your sandwiches or think about making sandwiches for dinner one evening, rather than adding flavor combinations and complexity to the sandwich, consider accompaniment and variety in the form of soup. My experience has shown that only good comes from keeping the stuff between the bread simple and more focused.
What will you dunk in what the next time you have a sandwich? What are your favorite soup and sandwich combinations?
Bonus blog trivia!
And because we’re talking about one of my favorite subjects, soups, here’s today’s double dose of trivia for you;
The word soup has its origins in the word sop. A sop, is just as it sounds, a piece of bread used to sop up the soup.
Take this one step further to 16th Century France. Shops that specialized in and sold soups marketed them as “restoriatives” and claimed many health benefits.
Eventually this term became commonplace and these places became known as Restaurants. Without Soup, there are no restaurants. Without restaurants, there are so many fewer sandwich options.
And fewer sandwiches make us all sad.