I've been wanting to make Monte Cristos for a while, and knew tonight would be perfect as it's freezing here! I wanted to make a soup to go with them, and I thought tomato, nice and basic, would be great. Then I figured to tie the ham and cheese sandwich with the soup, I'd throw in another form of pig - pancetta! Chef Symon would be so proud :)
I was going to just mince the pancetta and have it as the soup base, but I wanted to do something special, so I made some crisps to float at the top.
This meal was warm, cozy, and smoky!
Smoky Tomato Soup with Pancetta Crisps
1/4 lb. pancetta, sliced
1 yellow onion, minced
1 5 oz. can Italian style tomato paste
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 c. milk
1 c. chicken stock
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
salt and pepper
creme fraiche, sour cream, cream, etc. for garnish
Preheat oven to 350.
Cover a baking sheet with alumnium foil, place 4 slices of pancetta on baking sheet.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until crispy.
Heat a soup pot over medium.
Mince the remaining pancetta, and add to pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until some fat has rendered.
Mince onion and add to the pot. Stir in with the pancetta. Season with salt and pepper.
Place crushed tomatoes in the blender, set aside.
Add tomato paste to pot, stir, add crushed tomatoes, milk, stock, and smoked paprika.
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Taste and season with more salt and pepper.
(If you have an immersion blender, I would use it now to puree the soup a bit more, if desired)
Plate the soup, top with garnish of choice, pancetta and parsley.