Tomato soup and cheese waffles

Well, we're two months into official winter and it FINALLY snowed for real in NYC. We've had some accumulation here and there, but it was always sandwiched between 50-degree days and melted right away. The only things I like about snow are the quiet, dampened hush that blankets even this manic city, and the excuse to make tomato soup and cheese waffles. Grilled cheese is the typical tomato soup accessory, but I've made these waffles for M a few times this winter and it was time to break them out again.

I've thought about making these with whole wheat flour, but snow days feel a little indulgent. Also, to cart a toddler around a city in the snow, Ethan and I take turns on human sled-dog duty because no way are a stroller or little legs making it over those snow drifts. So...we earn that white flour. And, on the flip side, the soup is Whole 30 as long as you use clarified butter and compliant chicken stock. On balance, this meal is healthy-ish.

A couple of notes: I like to use parmesan and mozzarella in these waffles, but one could easily sub other cheeses. And don't be shy with the pepper. It may seem like too much to feed a toddler, but the pepper really gives the waffles a punch and doesn't taste spicy in the final product. AND the Tbsp of maple syrup (or sugar of your choice) is vital. I've omitted it before and the waffles don't taste the same.

If possible, look for homemade chicken stock or, if you can muster the energy, make your own. I am unbelievably lazy about making my own because we have a store near us that sells delicious and inexpensive homemade stocks. I will say, if we ever leave the city and don't have access to said stock, I'll start making me own. The difference is remarkable. And try to use the potatoes. While ESSENTIAL if you don't have any on hand, the potatoes and the butter give the soup its creaminess without adding actual cream.

First things first, get your soup started.

Non-dairy Creamy Tomato soup

2 Tbsp butter (clarified or regular)
½ red onion, roughly chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
3 new potatoes or 1 small russet potato, diced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 oz)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
28 oz box or can of diced tomatoes
2 cups rich chicken stock
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
Optional: 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Fresh oregano

Melt the butter over a medium low flame. Add roughly chopped onions and caramelize for 5-10 minutes. The more color the onions have, the sweeter and deeper the flavor will be in the finished product. When onions are caramelized, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the potato and tomato paste and stir to coat, cooking for about 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, water, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn down flame to low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Whizz the finished soup in your blender or with a hand blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a glug of balsamic vinegar and/or some fresh oregano, if desired.

Yield: about 6 cups or 48 oz

Savory cheese waffles

Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 cup white flour
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 egg, lightly whisked
3/4 cup buttermilk
½ cup parmesan
½ cup mozzarella
1 Tbsp maple syrup

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir lightly to combine. Add the lightly whisked egg, buttermilk, cheeses, and maple syrup and stir to combine.

Spoon 3 Tbsp of batter onto each side of your waffle maker and cook according to your machine’s directions. If you like a larger waffle, spoon ¼ cup onto each side. In that case, yield will be about 5-6 squares.

Yield: about 8 waffles