Sometimes you don’t need to mess with a classic. Food doesn’t always have to be unique to be amazing. It’s been pretty gross in Columbus lately, rain everyday with no end in sight. To me, that means you eat soup. And nothing goes better with tomato soup than a crispy and gooey grilled cheese. The nice thing about this meal is that it’s also pretty cheap, as long as you stick to the basics.
I have to tell a funny story about how grilled cheese can cost you $60 instead of $10. When The Beard and I first started dating, we bonded over cooking meals together. So much has changed, clearly. I had the genius idea of making a cheap dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup. Well, I also apparently needed to have 6 different types of cheeses from Whole Foods Market, two types of freshly baked bread and a $7 jar of fresh half & half from a local dairy farm for my soup. I imagine now that if I told The Beard that I was going to spend $60 on grilled cheese, he might smack the brie out of my hand.
To me, the best soup is one that has a little texture but isn’t saucy and definitely isn’t overly thin because it’s from a can. It has to be dunkable and also delicious from the spoon. This recipe fits my ridiculous criteria. Santa (my mother) got us an immersion blender for Christmas and I was so excited/nervous to use it for this recipe. I’ve read horror stories of people slicing their fingers off using an immersion blender so that terrified me. Don’t worry, I still have all ten fingers. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a blender or food processor to puree your soup to your liking.
The nice thing about this recipe is that it only uses one pot for the soup, one pan for the grilled cheese and one pan for the croutons. Hello, easy cleaning after dinner. Also, soup only gets better the longer you cook it, so you can totally finish your soup before starting on the grilled cheese and the croutons since they only take about 5 minutes each.
My secret to a perfect grilled cheese? Slather and I really mean slather butter on the outsides of the bread so that it’s completely covered. It makes a nice crispy layer when you “fry” it in your cast iron skillet. We used the same sourdough bread from Panera Bread for our croutons with a little bit of Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle mix on top for a little extra flavor. Once you get all the components finished up, ladle your soup in a bowl, top with croutons and dunk away!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled Fire Roasted San Marzano tomatoes in their juices
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- salt and black pepper
- 4 pieces favorite sandwich bread
- 4-8 slices favorite cheddar cheese
- 3-4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 4-6 pieces favorite bread
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Penzey's Sandwich Sprinkle
- Add oil and butter to a medium pot and melt over medium-low heat.
- Once melted, add the onion and a few teaspoons of salt.
- Soften onions, stirring occasionally, for about 10-12 minutes.
- Then, add garlic and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
- Increase the heat and add the whole can of tomatoes and juices to the pot. Crush the tomatoes slightly with a wooden spoon or potato masher.
- Cook until tomatoes are hot and start to soften a bit, about 8-10 minutes. Add basil during this time.
- Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until the tomatoes begin to fall apart.
- Remove soup for heat and let cool slightly, about 10-15 minutes. Using your immersion blender, puree the soup directly in your pot.
- Return the soup to the burner, turn on low heat and slowly pour in cream. Add black pepper, salt and more basil, as needed.
- Slather softened butter on each piece of bread for your sandwich.
- Heat up cast iron skillet to medium heat. Place one piece of bread, butter side down in the pan.
- Place pieces of cheese on non-butter side of bread and then top with other piece of bread.
- Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes, until bread is browned and crispy and cheese is nice and melty.
- Remove from pan and dunk in your favorite tomato soup.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Slice pieces of bread into 1-2 inch pieces.
- Place in a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil and Penzey's Sandwich Sprinkle.
- Toss on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through to make sure they don't burn.