Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

It was quite blustery and chilly tonight. It made for a perfect night for warming soups, which is exactly what was on the menu at my cooking group gathering tonight. It's been a while since I attended an event so it was nice to see familiar faces and meet new people as well. It's always an interesting group of women that get along great.
Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

I was a little worried about this event because I don't do soups. It's just not something that I frequently make so I'm not an expert on it. I know, it's soup - you just cut stuff up, add broth, let it simmer and it's done - but still, I was worried. I wanted to go for something really simple because I would have to make it on a weeknight and I didn't want to use my slow cooker. I decided on tomato soup because I wanted an excuse to make grilled cheese croutons! They've been popping up everywhere so I had to. There sure are a lot of different ways to make tomato soup but I'm so glad I came across this recipe. It cannot get any simpler than this. Very minimal work on your part - the machines do everything for you!

Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Do not use canned tomatoes for this, please. I would actually advise everyone not to use canned tomatoes at all, but I sometimes resort to them because of convenience. But since this soup's flavor comes from the tomatoes, they should be fresh and juicy ones. I was surprised at the end result of the soup as it had a lot of flavor despite being so simple, and I even used just water. You can make it as thick or as thin as you'd like by adding more bread or water, so it's very adjustable. I love dunking my grilled cheese into tomato soup so the croutons just eliminate getting my hands greasy from buttery bread. It's a unique way to serve up a classic.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup
From Family Style Food

3 tbsp olive oil

1/2 large white or yellow onion, sliced
2 lb small vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tsp salt, plus additional to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
2 or 3 thick slices peasant-style bread, crusts trimmed
3 tbsp grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan
1 to 2 cups vegetable broth or water

Heat oven to 425F. Pour olive oil into a baking dish or pan that will hold the tomatoes snugly. Scatter onion slices evenly over the bottom. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up over the onion and sprinkle with the salt and sugar. Roast for 20 minutes. Scatter the garlic over the tomatoes and roast for about 10 more minutes – the tomatoes and onion should be soft and golden and their juices bubbling. Season the tomatoes with the black pepper to taste and cool 10 or 15 minutes.

Transfer the tomatoes to a blender or food processor. Tear the bread slices into small chunks and add to the tomatoes along with the cheese. Add enough broth or water to barely cover the tomatoes – it will depend on how juicy the tomatoes are after roasting. Puree until smooth, in batches if necessary, adding more bread and/or liquid to achieve a consistency you like. Taste for seasoning.

For the grilled cheese croutons, melt some butter in a pan. Place a slice of bread in pan and let it brown. Set aside. Melt some more butter and place another slice of bread in pan. Top with 2 slices of your choice of cheese and the toasted slice of bread you set aside earlier. To flatten, place foil on top of sandwich and press down with another pan. Let go and let brown. Slice into 1-inch squares.

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