When I’m at a loss as to what to make for dinner, one of the dishes I go to is tomato soup. It’s easy, fast and delicious. Basically I make my tomato sauce and add chicken broth, puree it in a blender or food processor, return it to the pot and a bit of cream. Usually I serve it with a grilled cheese sandwich, but in this recipe the sandwich is in the soup! The crunchy cheese paired with the flavorful tomato was love in every bite. Whether you’re feeding one, two or many more, this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth – or enough to reach the consistency you prefer
1/4 cup half and half
1 shallot – finely chopped
1 clove fresh garlic – finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
I sprig of fresh basil – stem in tact
Salt and pepper to taste
Grilled Cheese Croutons
2 slices of your choice of sliced bread
2 – 3 slices (or enough to fill bread completely) of cheddar, fontina, gruyere, gouda or other favorite cheese that melts easily
Soft butter to spread on the bread
Instruction (serves 4)
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add just enough oil to very lightly cover the surface of the pot. Add shallots and cook for about a minute just until they begin to soften. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook a few moments more followed by the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, add broth and the basil (the whole sprig) lower heat to med/low and simmer, stirring occasional for about 30 minutes or until the raw tomato taste is gone.
Transfer soup to a blender or food processor (work in batches if you need to) and puree until smooth. If you like a soup with bits of tomato you can skip this step.
Return the soup to the pot, remove the basil, add the cream, stir, check the seasoning and serve.
While the soup is simmering, make the sandwich by adding a few generous slices of your favorite melty cheese. Brush both sides of the bread with butter and cook in a covered skillet over medium heat for about a minute on each side, or until each side is golden and the cheese has melted.
Cut the sandwich in squares and serve with the soup. Or if you really want to get each piece toasty…cut the sandwich into squares first then grill them.
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