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Make-Ahead Mini Croque Monsieur Sandwiches and Tomato Basil Soup

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  • Author: Tonja Engen


  • 6 Tbls. Olive oil
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tsp. salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 2 tsp. black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 Tbls. crushed dried basil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 cup gin
  • 3 cans (28 ounces) whole peeled Roma tomatoes (San Marzano)
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup cream or whole milk (optional)


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion, salt, and pepper, and cook until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes; then add basil and cayenne, and cook until vegetables are completely soft, about 5 minutes more.
  2. Add gin and reduce for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and broth and season again with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes, or up to 45 minutes if time permits.
  4. After allowing soup to cool somewhat, puree with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor until smooth, doing so in batches if necessary.
  5. If desired, stir in cream over low heat, and continue stirring until soup is just heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.