Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Spicy Tomato Chutney

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You knew this was coming, right?  I couldn’t possibly give you a bowl of warm, creamy tomato soup and leave you hanging without something to go along with it.

Usually when I’ve cooked something scrumptious, I try to be good and sample a small portion, and then put away the rest for later on.  Not happening with this grilled cheese sandwich.  I ate the entire thing as soon as I finished photographing it because the smell of a warm grilled cheese sandwich was too much of a temptation.  Perfectly toasted bread.  Cheese melting and oozing out.  With a bit of a kick, too!

The heat comes from the tomato chutney, which is the essence of this sandwich and amps up any sandwich for that matter.  I tried tomato chutney for the first time at Flour Bakery in Boston (in a really delicious roasted lamb sandwich), and it instantly became my favorite sandwich condiment.

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To replicate what I had, I let some tomatoes and red peppers cook slowly with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a touch of sugar.  Keep half an eye on it and give it a stir now and then.  Actually the process is a lot like making fruit preserves.

The chutney is sweet and tangy, and will totally delight your taste buds!  It’s also extremely versatile and you’d probably want to spread it on everything you eat.  In fact, I piled spoonfuls of it on a piece of toast and ate that too.

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Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Spicy Tomato Chutney
(makes 2 sandwiches)

4 slices sourdough bread
spicy tomato chutney (recipe below)
8 slices deli-sliced turkey
4 slices smoked gouda
2 tbsps unsalted butter

Spread two slices of bread with chutney, and top each with 4 slices of turkey and 2 slices of smoked gouda, and another slice of bread.  Butter the outer sides of the sandwiches. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, and cook the sandwiches until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.

*I like to pop the assembled sandwiches in the microwave for about 30 seconds before toasting them on the pan to ensure that the sandwich fillings are warmed through (especially when using cold cuts and cheese straight from the fridge) when the bread turns golden brown.

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Spicy Tomato Chutney
(makes about 1 cup)

1 lb ripened plum tomatoes, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, vinegar, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and sugar in a large saucepan and cover with a lid.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf and let it cool to room temperature.

When cooled, puree the mixture in a blender until desired consistency is reached.  Season with salt and pepper.  Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

*Use more red pepper flakes if you prefer more heat (keep in mind that as the mixture is reduced down to a thicker consistency, it becomes more and more spicy)

*Adjust the amount of sugar, depending on the ripeness of tomatoes.

*Chutney lasts for up to one week in the refrigerator (stored in an airtight container)

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