How to make Drew Barrymore and chef Pilar Valdes' tomatillo soup and grilled cheese

Barrymore teams up with Chef Pilar Valdes for her first lifestyle book.

October 27, 2021, 8:33 AM

Actress, producer and entrepreneur Drew Barrymore is releasing her first lifestyle book, "Rebel Homemaker: Food, Family, Life," next month.

She decided to write the cookbook in early 2020, but after a global crisis, she found it to be a great opportunity for a reset. Through a series of essays, photos and 36 recipes, Barrymore hopes to share how she lives a healthy and joyful life. Chef Pilar Valdes, Barrymore's friend and regular guest on her talk show, is a co-author.

The collaborators shared their take on the classic soup and sandwich combo with recipes for a vegan tomatillo soup and a brie and apple grilled cheese.

Read on to get these cozy and unique recipes.

Roasted poblano-tomatillo soup

This is one of my favorite soups, and we make it often at the house. It's really a love letter to some of my favorite Mexican ingredients—poblanos, tomatillos, jalapeños, and cilantro—blended up into a wonderfully satisfying soup. There's just the right amount of heat, lovely pops of brightness from both the tomatillos and the fresh cilantro, and you can feel free to adjust the spice level by adding more (or less) jalapeño according to your preference.

Since the soup is vegan, we give it more body and a rounder mouthfeel with the use of aquafaba, the liquid from cooking the beans. So when draining the beans, don't forget to reserve the liquid from the can. (This amazing ingredient can be used as an egg or egg white substitute in many vegan recipes, too—but that's for another recipe.) You can definitely cook dry beans from scratch, but we've found that canned beans work great. The peppers and aromatics can be roasted up to 3 days in advance, and the cooked soup freezes and reheats like a dream.

PHOTO: A recipe for Roasted Poblano-Tomatillo Soup by Drew Barrymore with Chef Pilar Valdes in new cook book.
A recipe for Roasted Poblano-Tomatillo Soup by Drew Barrymore with Chef Pilar Valdes in new cook book.
Graydon Herriott

Makes 6 cups
Serves 4 to 6

4 poblano chilies
2 large or 4 small tomatillos, husks removed
4 medium shallots, unpeeled
6 large cloves garlic, unpeeled1 jalapeño, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium leeks, thinly sliced, about 21/2 cups (white and light green parts only)
2 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, beans drained (and unrinsed), divided; aquafaba (bean-soaking liquid) from both cans reserved
21/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
1/2 cup (lightly packed) chopped cilantro (leaves and stems)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, plus additional lime wedges for serving
To Garnish (optional)
Coconut yogurt
Coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
Toasted pepitas

Roast peppers and aromatics.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the poblanos, tomatillos, shallots, garlic, and jalapeño on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 11/2 tablespoons oil.

Toss to coat thoroughly and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Transfer to the oven and roast until browned and caramelized, about 30 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through.

Remove from the oven, being careful not to spill any of the juices released.

When cool enough to handle, remove and discard the peels from the shallots and garlic as well as the stems and seeds from the poblanos and jalapeño then set aside.

Make the base: Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 11/2 tablespoons oil, swirl to coat, and add the leeks.

Season with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add 1 can of cannellini beans and the roasted peppers and aromatics, including all accumulated juices from the baking sheet, and stir.

Add 21/2 cups water and all the aquafaba. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to maintain a brisk simmer.

Cook, partially covered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow flavors to marry.

Blend the soup then transfer the mixture to a blender and add the cilantro and lime juice.

Blend until the soup is very smooth. Transfer back to the pot and add the remaining 1 can of cannellini beans.

Return the heat to low to heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

Transfer the hot soup to individual bowls and top with coconut yogurt and garnish with coriander seeds, toasted pepitas (if using), and a lime wedge on the side.

Recipe for Brie and apple grilled cheese

I love this recipe because I love loading up on cheese and carbs some days, but I still want peppery arugula and sweet, crisp, tart apple in the mix, too. I guess I'm saying I want it all, and I really, truly believe this sandwich has it!

I learned to make it when I was eight months pregnant and in a Los Angeles August heat wave. And that still didn't stop me from wanting a gooey, yummy, multi-textured sandwich that lives on in my heart. I believe the key to success is to pre-butter the bread before it hits the pan. I cannot stress this enough! Another pro tip is to put the arugula on top of the brie, as it acts as a perfect culinary adhesive.

PHOTO: A recipe for Brie and Apple Grilled Cheese by Drew Barrymore with Chef Pilar Valdes in new cook book.
A recipe for Brie and Apple Grilled Cheese by Drew Barrymore with Chef Pilar Valdes in new cook book.
Graydon Herriott

Makes 1 sandwich
2 pieces sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
11/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
2 teaspoons Colman's prepared mustard, plus additional for serving
6 thin slices granny smith apple
21/2 ounces Brie, slightly chilled
1 large handful arugula (about 1 cup)

Butter the bread. Slather one side of each slice of bread with 1/2 tablespoon butter.

Place the bread slices buttered-side down on a work surface.

Assemble the sandwich. Spread mustard on one side. On the opposite side, shingle the apple slices.

Remove the rind from the Brie and discard (or eat!).

Lay the Brie on top of the apple, spreading and flattening as much as possible. Add arugula and press to adhere. Close with the other piece of bread so that both buttered sides are on the outside.

Cook. Heat a skillet over medium heat.

Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and swirl to coat.

When sizzling, add the sandwich, and press down with a spatula to encourage even toasting. Cook until golden and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning.

Flip the sandwich. Continue cooking, lightly pressing with a spatula, until the bread is golden and the cheese is melty, about 2 minutes more.

Serve. Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half. Serve immediately, with additional mustard on the side.