New Use for Tomatoes: BLT Soup with Pumpernickle Croutons

Tomatoes. They’re piling up on the counter, lying out on a table in our straw-bale greenhouse and congregating on our front porch.

by John D. Ivanko
BLT Soup with Pumpernickle Croutons - Photo by John D. Ivanko (
Photo by John D. Ivanko/

Tomatoes. They’re piling up on the counter, lying out on a table in our straw-bale greenhouse and congregating on our front porch. After sweating through a few scorching days picking apples, some refreshingly cool temps have arrived, so soup’s on!

Sidestepping our standby basil tomato soup, we went for a hearty BLT soup after having a bowl of it during a recent visit to the Cudahy Chophouse at The Inn at Stonecliffe on Mackinac Island, Mich. Executive Chef Richard Gilles turned a sandwich favorite into a flavorful soup, helping us make a dent on our tomato piles, as well.

By using farm-fresh ingredients, this creamy soup recipe lets you savor your tomato and lettuce harvest in a whole new way. Stay tuned: In a future blog, we’ll also reveal Gilles’ fudge-inspired creations for the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival. (They’re as tasty as they sound.)

Recipe: BLT Soup
Courtesy Chef Richard Gilles, Cudahy Chophouse, The Inn at Stonecliffe

Yield: 8 servings


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  • 10 ounces bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces butter (about 8 T.)
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, chiffonade
  • 4 ounces flour (slightly less than 1 cup)
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper


  • 1/4 tsp. Romaine lettuce, chiffonade
  • pumpernickel croutons, as needed
  • bacon, cooked and diced, as needed
  • Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced, as needed
  • 1/4 tsp. chopped sage
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise


  • 4 slices pumpernickel bread, trimmed and cubed
  • 1/4 cup clarified butter


Render bacon, and drain grease into stock pot. Reserve bacon for later use. Heat grease over medium heat. Sauté the onions and garlic, then add butter. Add half of Romaine lettuce and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add flour and cook until light brown. Add chicken stock and bring to simmer. Add cream, milk, half of tomatoes and half of reserved bacon. Simmer 5 to 6 minutes.

Whip in 1/2 cup mayonnaise. Simmer 2 more minutes, then add salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, and garnish with Romaine, croutons, bacon, tomatoes, sage and mayonnaise.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In large bowl, toss cubed bread with butter to coat. Arrange the diced bread on baking sheet in even layer. Bake for 3 minutes.

Remove from oven and stir to encourage even browning. Return to the oven until all moisture is removed and bread begins to brown, about 3 more minutes.

Savoring the good life,

John and Lisa's Signatures

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