I’m having so much fun with our Grownup Childhood Favorites Series! So far we’ve given a grownup gourmet makeover to Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Hawaiian Haystacks, and today—based on your feedback on our Facebook page—we’re revisiting another childhood favorite, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. This tomato soup recipe is very much the sophisticated grownup version of the stuff we used to eat from the can, and the fun twist is grilled cheese croutons to crisp up and serve in the middle of a steaming bowl or dunk in like crackers. This meal will wow your kids on weeknights and your sweetheart on date nights. Give it a try and see what you think!
Roasted Tomato Soup
adapted slightly from Tyler Florence
2 1/2 pounds of fresh tomatoes (any variety or mix of varieties)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 small yellow onions, sliced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 quart chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
pinch of red pepper flakes
3/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash, core and cut the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, garlic cloves and onions onto a baking tray. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized. Remove roasted tomatoes, garlic and onion from the oven and transfer to a large stock pot. Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, bay leaves, 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, along with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth. Return soup to low heat, add cream and adjust consistency with remaining chicken stock, if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Grilled Cheese Croutons
thick-sliced Italian bread
sliced cheese (sharp cheddar, Gruyére, or gouda)
Preheat a panini press or frying pan to medium-high heat. Place cheese inside two slices of bread and butter the outside liberally. Press or fry until crisp and golden brown. Remove sandwich and cut into small cubes. Serve in and on the side of tomato soup.
HINT: Use your George Foreman grill in place of a panini press for great results!