One of my favorite food combinations in the world is grilled cheese and tomato soup. For starters, you’ve got delicious cheese, and fabulous, carb-tastic bread – a combination with which it is nearly impossible to go wrong. Then you add in a warm, rich, slightly creamy tomato soup… and BAM! You’re in food heaven.
When I lived in my sorority house in college, we had this house cook named Dennis that was a.) completely insane, and b.) not a really great cook. Most of his food was decent enough (better than dorm food, at least), but let’s just say that the salad bar got a lot of use during dinners. There were a FEW things that he did particularly well, though. When they were not over-baked within an inch of their lives, his coconut cookies were pretty fabulous, and he could manage to pull off a really great tomato soup and grilled cheese lunch. There was nothing more exciting than seeing “Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese” on the weekly menu – we would all look forward to that lunch the entire week. (When he happened to make grilled cheese and tomato soup AND coconut cookies? HOME RUN, DENNIS.)
After searching for a while, I’ve finally found a tomato soup that is rich, but not heavy, and flavorful without requiring 4 trips to the grocery store and $100 worth of ingredients. It’s great on its own, or paired with a big salad, or a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s delicious as soon as you make it, but even better after it’s been in the fridge for a day or two; best of all, it only takes about 30 minutes to make! I honestly could not tell you where I originally got the recipe from (I just copied and pasted it into my email), but I’ve changed it up a bit, per usual.
Roasted Tomato Soup
2 T salted butter
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T all-purpose flour
3 T tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
2 cans fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
2 T sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1.) Place a medium-sized pot over medium heat, and add your butter. Once the butter has melted, add your carrots and onions. Cook until the carrots begin to soften, and the onions get translucent, about 5 minutes. Season vegetables with salt and pepper (one large pinch of each). Add your garlic and cook for about 1 minute more.
2.) Sprinkle the flour over the veggies, and mix until the flour is evenly distributed. Let this mixture cook for a minute or two, to get rid of the raw flour taste.
3.) Add the tomato paste, chicken stock, diced tomatoes, sugar, and some more salt and pepper (a large pinch of salt, a small pinch of pepper). Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Partially cover the pot with a lid, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the carrots are cooked through.
4.) Once the vegetables are cooked through, you’re ready to blend the soup. You can do this by transferring it in batches to your blender (DO NOT cover the top of the blender completely with the lid – either remove the clear, center portion of the lid and hold a towel over the hole, or put the top on slightly askew, so the steam can escape, and you don’t end up with hot soup exploding everywhere), or using an immersion blender. Once the soup is blended, add your heavy cream, and leave the soup on the heat until it’s warmed through.
5.) Your soup is ready to serve! You can serve it with shredded cheese and sour cream on top, with a grilled cheese sandwich for dipping, or with a big salad on the side.
I was all set to make grilled cheese to go with my soup, and then I decided that I wasn’t really in the mood to dirty/wash another pan… so, instead, I took a ciabatta roll, sliced it, toasted the slices under the broiler (on a foil-lined sheet pan), then topped the slices with a mixture of shredded cheddar and monterey jack, and put them back under the broiler for another minute. I got the same cheesy, melty deliciousness as I would have gotten with a grilled cheese – but I was able to just roll the foil off my sheet pan and throw it away, instead of dealing with another dirty pan.
My soup is better than Dennis’,