I’m don’t know that there is a more comforting meal in the world than tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s quick and easy, filling, and cheap. I’ve never cared for tomato soup from a can, it’s always so thin and flavorless. So, when I saw Ina’s version in on the cover of a recent Food Network magazine, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. I loved the idea of grilled cheese croutons!
The soup was delicious and filling. I loved the addition of orzo and a little bit of cream. And the saffron, wow – it adds such a depth of flavor. It takes only a few minutes to throw together – in under 30 minutes you have a homemade meal on the table that isn’t condensed crap-ola.
I didn’t have a great selection of cheeses handy when I made these. So, I just kept in old school and used yellow american for the grilled cheese sandwiches, then cut them into cubes for the croutons. Couldn’t be easier, but how good does it look sitting on top of that delicious soup? I have a feeling this is going to be a new staple in our house!
Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
large pinch saffron threwads
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup orzo
1/2 cup heavy cream
basil or parsley, minced (for garnish)
For the croutons:
4 slices country white bread
2 Tbsp butter, softened
4 slices yellow American cheese
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, saffron, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a medium pot with water, add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook for 7 minutes. Drain the orzo and add it to the soup. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.
To make the grilled cheese croutons, heat a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Spread butter over one side of the slices of bread, placing the 2 slices of cheese in between the unbuttered side. Cook in skillet for a few minutes on each side until bread is golden and cheese is melted. Remove to a cutting board and let sit 1 minute before cutting into 1-inch cubes.
Ladle soup into bowls, top with grilled cheese croutons, and garnish with chopped fresh basil or parsley.
Source: Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten