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Not Your Mom's Tomato Soup With Grilled Cheese Croutons

This twist on a classic soup spices things up and is easy to make.

I'll admit it, I hate the tomato soup that comes from a can. Growing up, it was a classic dish from my childhood, tomato soup and grilled cheese, but I could never eat the soup.

I'm not sure why, I love tomatoes, it must be something about the texture. So, when I stumbled upon this recipe for homemade tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons in the October edition of Food Network Magazine, I decided to give it a try and see if it would change my mind about a soup and sandwich combo that many people love.

This soup is delicious. The spices give it a unique flavor, while still keeping with the classic tomato tones, and the orzo pasta and onion add a heartiness that I think soup from the can is sorely lacking. And who doesn't love the idea of dunking perfectly toasted grilled cheese cubes into the soup? This was a hit a my house.

To make this you'll need:

Soup

  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3 cups yellow onions, dices (2 small-medium onions)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Grilled Cheese Croutons

  • 4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country white bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated or sliced

To start, 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 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.

While the soup simmers, 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.

To make the grilled cheese croutons heat a griddle and spray with non-stick oil. Brush one side of two slices of bread with melted butter and place on the heated griddle. Top evenly with the cheese, and then place the other slices on top. Brush the top slices of bread with the butter. Press down with the spatula to flatten the sandwiches into paninis. Flip once the bottom is golden brown, and toast the other side. Once toasted on both side, move the sandwiches to a cutting board and cut into cubes. Serve them as a garnish on the soup. Enjoy!

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