Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese: An American Classic

Spring is almost here, but it’s still a bit chilly. There’s no better way to get cozy than with a bowl of soup. Inspired by the Campbell’s tomato soup and Kraft grilled cheeses of my childhood, I decided to make my own version, fit to serve to adults. The soup is incredibly simple– it’s only slightly more involved than opening a can and adding water, and the result is an aromatic, slightly chunky tomato soup. I also added carrots and garlic to to mix. The grilled cheese is done on the grill pan with thick slices of crusty bread that had been rubbed with crusged garlic forming the sandwich around cheese and red onion. I used gruyère and mozzarella, because it was what I had on hand, but any good cheese will do.

Tomato Soup

You’ll want to use a Dutch oven, or an oven safe pot for this. Otherwise, use a casserole dish and then transfer to a stock pot.

tomato soup and real grilled cheeseINGREDIENTS

  • 14 ounces whole canned tomatoes, crushed with your hands, juices reserved
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, whole and peeled
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Coat the Dutch oven with olive oil. Add the tomatoes (reserving the juice for later), whole garlic cloves, carrot and onions, and the bay leaf. Add a bit more olive oil. Place in the oven, covered, and roast until the garlic is tender, and the onions and tomatoes have begun to caramelize. This took about 30 minutes for me.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, add the rinsed basil leaves with abut 1/4 cup of olive oil, the minced garlic and a pinch of sea salt, and blend. (You can also choose to skip this step and just finely chop the basil. Or, you can form a pesto with it using your mortar and pestle.) Set aside.

Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and place it on the stove top over medium heat. Add the tomato juice and broth, and stir. If you’d like a smoother soup, use blend using an immersion blender. Or, transfer this mixture to the food processor or blender before the entire thing is warmed, and then transfer back to the stove. If you prefer a chunkier soup, leave as it. When the soup is warmed through, stir in the basil-pesto. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve with bread or grilled cheese (recipe below.)

Grilled Cheese

Use a grill pan to to get those nice grill marks.

INGREDIENTS

  • Good bread– 2 slices per sandwich (I used a crusty bread from our local Polish bakery)
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Cheese (I used gruyère and mozzarella, but any good semi-hard to semi-soft cheese will work– cheddar, blue, brie, etc)
  • Red onion slices

Place the grill plan over medium heat, and lightly coat with olive oil. Rub smashed garlic onto each slice of bread. Place cheese and onions onto a slice of bread, and then close the sandwich with the remaining slice. Place in grill pan and grill until cheese begins to melt. Flip sandwich. Grill until both sides are toasty, with grill marks, and cheese is melted inside. Enjoy dipped in your tomato soup!

 

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