Take a break from Halloween sweets and dig into a bowl of “bloody”tomato soup with a side of cheesy focaccia “fingers,”(a fun alternative to your classic grilled cheese). Dunking is a must! And did I mention there’s bacon in the soup?
Bloody Tomato Soup and Cheesy Focaccia Fingers
Makes 6 servings
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh (or 2 teaspoons dried) oregano, divided
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh (or 1/4 teaspoon dried) thyme
1 bay leaf
1 15 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
1/4 cup heavy cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Make the focaccia:
- In a large bowl, combine water and yeast, stirring until yeast dissolves. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) oregano, 1 teaspoon salt and a generous pinch of black pepper.
- Add 3 cups flour and stir everything until it comes together to form a shaggy ball. Then knead the dough by hand on a well-floured work surface for about 5 minutes. Flatten dough slightly, sprinkle on 1/2 cup cheese and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed, about 5 more minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- While dough is rising, combine remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) oregano in a small bowl.
- Oil a rimmed baking sheet. After dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to the prepared baking sheet; let rest for 5 minutes.
- Using your fingers, stretch the dough so it evenly covers the bottom of the baking sheet. Cover the dough loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until puffy, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- With your fingertips, poke dimples at 2-inch intervals over the entire surface of the dough. Brush olive oil/oregano mixture on surface of the dough and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup cheese. Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes.
- Once focaccia cools, cut into 1-inch-wide “fingers”
Make the soup:
- In a large pot, cook bacon on medium heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, about 10 minutes.
- Add butter, garlic, onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until tomato paste begins to darken, about 3 minutes.
- Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 30 minutes.
- Remove soup from heat and purée. Stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.