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Tomato Garlic Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

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A childhood favorite combination – now with a little sophistication. The perfect kind of comfort food together in one bowl of soup. Redesigned with a lingering mellow garlic essence.

Rustic Tomato Soup with extra garlic and grilled cheese croutons
Rustic Tomato Soup with extra garlic and grilled cheese croutons
An updated combination for today's palate
An updated combination for today’s palate

While tasting this soup, many will be immediately transported to your childhood kitchen – when you enjoyed Campbell’s Tomato Soup with a side of Grilled Cheese (on fluffy Wonder Bread with oozing Kraft Cheese Slices.) We have learned a lot about nutrition in the last 50 years… the health dangers of too much sodium and processed foods.

In testing this recipe, I wanted a soup with a bright tomato flavor, with a lingering garlic edge – I’m just back from the annual 2016 Hudson Valley Garlic Festival with loads of freshly dug garlic at my disposal.

By adding a good dose of garlic, onions and leeks, no heavy cream is necessary – the soup will blend to a beautiful color, with a creamy texture, while still letting the tomato flavor shine.

The best quality ingredients will produce the brightest soup with a natural flavor. San Marzano Tomatoes from a can are the best quality, as their color is deep, they have thick, sturdy walls and they do not contain preservatives… just tomatoes, puree and sometimes basil leaves.

Did you know: most commercial brands of canned tomatoes contain: Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid and Natural Flavorings! Ugh!! I have been reading labels – and you should too. A popular brand of California canned plum tomatoes, that has the “organic” and “non gmo stamp” contains citric acid and calcium chloride! The Italians, (and Europeans) value the absence of preservatives much better than we do in the US.

Look for good quality canned tomatoes with nothing but tomatoes as ingredients. Below, on the right “San Marzano Tomatoes*, ” and on the left “Italian Peeled Plum Tomatoes – both fabulous quality without preservatives.

Ingredients in the soup are: tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, leeks, onions, chicken or vegetable stock, tomato juice (puree) and some seasonings. With a good dose of alliums, (garlic, onions, leeks) the soup will blend up with a creamy tomato color.. with no dairy cream at all.
The soup is vegan… with croutons – it’s vegetarian.

I like to blend half of the soup, and leave the other half a little chunky. The texture of the soup is up to you… blend the whole batch to a smooth consistency if you prefer.

The Grilled Cheese Croutons are a snap to make. I cook them in homemade garlic oil instead of butter – and they are delicious! Crispy outside and oozing with sharp, aged cheddar inside. Use a natural cheddar cheese here – I bought mine in a cheese shop as I love an aged cheddar, that has a little crystallization and is a little crumbly.

I chose sourdough sliced bread, and cut off the crusts. Add the croutons just before serving and the bottoms will absorb the soup and soften perfectly.

*The San Marzano Tomato, a variety of plum tomato grows in the rich volcanic soil of the Sarno River valley in Italy, near Mount Vesuvius, resulting in a sweet flesh with low acidity. Its thick skin makes it easy to peel off. Plus, it’s meatier than Romas and other plums, and has fewer seeds.

Enjoy this comforting meal!
Karen

Ingredients for the soup
Ingredients for the soup
I had a wonderful time at the 2016 Hudson Valley Garlic Festival!
I had a wonderful time at the 2016 Hudson Valley Garlic Festival!
Make Grilled Cheese Croutons in homemade garlic flavored oil
Make Grilled Cheese Croutons in homemade garlic flavored oil
The Grilled Cheese Crouton, ready to cut into little squares
The Grilled Cheese Crouton, ready to cut into little squares
Sauce the onion, garlic and leeks over low heat - will add glorious flavor to the soup
Sauce the onion, garlic and leeks over low heat – will add glorious flavor to the soup
The finished soup in the pot - I pureed half of the soup, and left the rest a little chunky
The finished soup in the pot – I pureed half of the soup, and left the rest a little chunky
The soup before adding the cheese croutons - add some softened garlic cloves and petite basil leaves
The soup before adding the cheese croutons – add some softened garlic cloves and petite basil leaves
Satisfying Tomato Garlic Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
Satisfying Tomato Garlic Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons, here garnished with chives and a marjoram sprig

 

 

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