A grilled cheese sandwich paired with a bowl of hot soup is such an iconic meal that it follows us from childhood into adulthood.
As grown-ups, though, we might opt for more complex flavors than a simple tomato and cheddar combo. This version leans to Mexico, with an earthy bean soup and, standing in for the sandwich, a spicy cheese and roasted poblano quesadilla. Yet at its heart, the meal remains that long-remembered duo, which is comforting and super-easy to pull together.
Black bean soup and quesadillas
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 20 minutes Makes: 4 servings
4 strips bacon, diced
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
One 29-ounce can black beans, drained, rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (or other oregano)
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Crema or sour cream
1 lime, quartered
4 flour tortillas, 6 inches in diameter
1 cup or more grated Chihuahua cheese, or other good melting cheese
2 poblano chilies, roasted, peeled, cut in thin strips
Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp; transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Add the onion and red pepper to the pan; cook in the bacon fat until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, chicken broth and oregano; heat over medium-low until soup is hot, about 10 minutes. Stir in the reserved bacon.
Meanwhile, place 2 tortillas on a flat surface; sprinkle with the cheese. Divide poblanos over the tops. Cover with remaining 2 tortillas. Cook in a skillet or on a griddle over medium heat, flipping once, until the cheese melts and tortillas brown slightly, about 2 minutes per side. Cut each quesadilla in quarters.
Divide the soup among 4 serving bowls; top with the cilantro and a dollop of crema or sour cream. Serve with the quesadillas alongside, passing the lime quarters for squirting into the soup.