Whenever I was sick and home from school, my Mum would make me Campbell’s tomato soup and a grilled cheese made with white bread and Kraft slices (“plastic cheese”). Although my tastebuds have evolved over time, I loved and still love this. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the love I felt from my Mum and the comfort this lunch gave me.I recently bought Barefoot Contessa’s new cookbook, Foolproof, which has so many great recipes that I want to try. The one that first caught my eye was this creamy tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons. Yes, mini grilled cheese croutons which are floated on top of a bowl of comforting soup. I knew I had to make it; it didn’t disappoint.
Note: because I didn’t have any gruyère, I used really old sharp cheddar for the grilled cheese croutons. They were delicious.
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 3 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
- Large pinch of saffron threads
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup orzo
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Grilled Cheese Croutons (see below)
- Grilled Cheese Croutons
- 4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country white bread
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
- SOUP In a large pot or Dutch oven such as Le Creuset, 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 1 more 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. (It will finish cooking in the soup.) 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.
- Serve hot with Grilled Cheese Croutons scattered on top.
- GRILLED CHEESE CROUTONS Heat a panini grill. Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with the melted butter, being sure to butter the corners. Turn the slices over and pile Gruyere on two of the slices. Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the Gruyere, buttered sides up.
- Grill the sandwiches on the panini grill for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute and cut into 1-inch cubes.