I’m right there with you, friends. I absolutely loved it when my mom whipped up tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch. Imagine my surprise when Tony tells me he is “weirded out” by the combination. Say wuuuut? Well I’m here to tell you that he has since been (somewhat) converted. What miracle was bestowed upon him? Homemade spicy tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons. Yum, yum.
After making this, I’m actually really disappointed that I haven’t made homemade tomato soup more often. It’s so darn easy and you can make it taste like you want. For example, I don’t like mine as sweet and bland as the canned stuff and I want some spice. Done! And can we just talk about the croutons for a moment? They’re tossed in melted butter and covered in melted cheddar. That is all. This soup makes for a satisfying light meal. Wanna make it a dinner? Why not throw in some of this here Chorizo-Avocado Toast with Sliced Radishes?
So how can you make this soup be the best it can be? Here are a few tips:
Cook Your Veggies – When sauteing the vegetables before adding the broth, give ’em a bit of time to cook and release their sugars and goodness. And after the broth is added, simmer at least 20 minutes for full flavor.
Watch Those Croutons – Croutons go from GBD (golden brown and delicious) to cubed bread charcoal in no time. Oven temperatures vary, so be sure to keep a close eye on them. Also, be sure to let them get nice and golden before adding the cheese. This will enable the croutons to keep their crunch despite the fact that moisture is being added from the cheese.
Seasoning is Key – Tomatoes love salt. Don’t believe me? Try a sliced tomato with and without salt. There is a drastic difference in flavor. So don’t skimp on the salt and pepper. Your soup will thank you.
I really hope you feel inspired to try this soup and to indulge in the tomato soup-grilled cheese combo. See you next time!
- 8 large tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup roughly chopped red onion
- 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 cups chicken stock, or more as needed
- 2 dried chiles de arbol, stems and seeds removed or 1 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 6 cups baguette cubes, cut ¾-inch by ¾-inch
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the tomatoes, then cut off the ends with the stem. Reach into each of the tomatoes with one finger and scrape out the seeds. Cut the tomatoes in half, crosswise, then cut out the white core. Roughly chop.
- Place a large pot over medium heat. Add the 2 tablespoons un-melted butter followed by the onion, carrot, and garlic. Season with salt and cook until the onion becomes tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes more.
- Add the tomatoes, sugar, chicken stock, chiles or cayenne, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables become very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Carefully pour half of the vegetables and broth into a blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Pour the blended soup into a large saucepan and repeat with the remaining vegetables and broth. Place over a very low heat to stay hot while you make the croutons.
- Place the bread cubes on a cookie sheet and coat with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake the croutons until browned and no longer chewy in the middle, about 7 minutes.
- Turn the croutons, then crowd into the middle of the pan, and sprinkle with the shredded cheddar. Bake 5 minutes more until the cheese is melted.
- Lade the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the chopped parsley, and top with croutons right before serving. To keep croutons crispy, serve them on the side, so you can add croutons to the soup as you’re eating it. Enjoy!