The holiday season is the busiest time of the year, especially in the kitchen when you’re hosting a house full of guests. There’s nothing better to spread cheer and warm spirits during the cold months than gathering around the table for a wholesome hot meal. This holiday, take a tip from a true tastemaker. We asked Chick-fil-A head Chef, Brian Kolodziej for his favorite food to make during the holidays.
“Growing up in New Hampshire, after a day’s work (or play) outside, there was nothing better to warm us up than a batch of soup or chowder, a pot of chili, or even a pot pie,” Kolodziej said. “Even living in the South, I welcome in the winter season with a fire in the fireplace and hearty comfort foods.”
Kolodziej is a classically trained chef with a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Whales University. But when he’s not mastering the flavors on the Chick-fil-A menu, he’s cooking for his family at home, too.
Chef Brian shared the recipe for his favorite comfort food – Roasted Tomato Soup – that he says any at-home cook can master!
2 1/2 pounds fresh ripe plum tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 small yellow onions, sliced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 bay leaf
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Toss the tomato halves, garlic cloves and onions with olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread evenly onto a baking tray. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until medium golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock, bay leaf, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third. Wash and dry basil leaves, and add to the pot. Turn off heat
Using a blender, puree the soup mixture until smooth. Return pureed soup to a pot over low heat. Add cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Garnish with cornbread croutons, serve and enjoy!
Prepared corn muffins or corn bread, baked & cooled to room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Cut corn muffins or corn bread into ¾-inch cubes; place in bowl and gently toss with olive oil
Place cornbread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until golden – about 20 minutes.
Cool and reserve for soup (or salad) garnish.
For more inspiration from the Chick-fil-A Chefs, check out the Chick-fil-A Chef Gift Guide for the foodie in your family.