–roasted smoky tomato soup, and we have a winner! Oh, but there’s more… We add dill harvarti & cheddar, grilled cheese croutons on top-and there you have, soup garnish love! This one is nothing but simple, savory, & satisfying. The grilled cheese croutons enhance a basic to a new favorite. I have made tomato soups in many versions, and have finally decided fire-roasted is my favorite. You will need nothing more than some time to cook, a cozy spot to eat it, and perhaps a good appetite for seconds.
Making this won’t be a fire at your side either, as we’re going to skip roasting our own tomatoes, opting for great quality, canned, fire-roasted tomatoes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve roasted my own for this and it is delicious, but on a weeknight, I find a canned variety most welcome & they are equally wonderful (not to mention a huge time and kitchen saver). We’ll pair them with the likes of fresh garlic, celery, carrot, sweet onion, chicken stock, Italian spices & smoked paprika! Not forgetting a small bacon appearance, it just seems to add to the ‘smoky’ element, so I had to. The immersion blender will help us out again, lending a smooth texture. Though, I leave some ‘chunk’ to it, so it is more rustic, but you can easily optimize to your liking! Here’s how…
- 28 oz can crushed Italian tomatoes
- 3, 14.5 oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes
- 4 ribs of celery, chopped
- 1 large carrot (or 2-3 smaller), peeled & chopped
- 1 32 oz carton chicken stock (low sodium)
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ sweet yellow onion, chopped
- 2 T butter
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp Italian herb seasoning
- ¼ tsp marjoram, ground
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Smoked sea salt (if available), to taste
- 3 strips smoked bacon (will chop and crisp to prep soup pot)
- shredded parmesan cheese, for topping, optional.
- 2 large slices sourdough bread (I use a whole wheat sourdough)
- softened butter (for coating both sides of bread)
- Dill Harvarti cheese, sliced thinly (enough with cheddar for one sandwich)
- Sharp Cheddar cheese, sliced thinly (enough for one sandwich)
- Cook chopped bacon in soup pot till crisp, then set aside and drain on paper towels.
- Heat pot with bacon drippings on stove, adding chopped onion & garlic, to sauté. Add butter.
- Next add chopped carrot and celery and sauté for about 10 min, till tender. (You can add a ½ cup of the stock if you need liquid to help get them tender).
- To the pot add all tomatoes, string well.
- Add in 2 cups of the stock and let simmer on medium-low for about 10 minutes.
- Using a hand-held immersion blender, slowly blend out chunks, until desired consistency. (I leave a little for texture).
- Add all seasonings and let simmer. (You can add more stock as desired for thinness)
- Spread both sides of bread with butter.
- In a hot skillet on stove place both pieces of bread to brown on the first sides.
- Once brown and slightly crisp, flip bread and to one piece add the sliced cheeses.
- Place other piece of bread onto cheese, browned side down on cheese. Use a panini weight or pot lid if you need to press together.
- Flip sandwich once the outer side is browned.
- Brown on remaining side till cheese melty and crisp!
- Remove from pan and let cool slightly on rack.
- Once cooled & still crisp cut into small squares (about 1.5 inches)
- Dish-up simmering soup into bowls, adding grilled cheese croutons and some of the crumbled bacon & some shredded parm on top as desired!
Also, the thickness will be determined by how long you puree the chopped veggies, how much stock you add, and how long you let simmer. I recommend adding stock in ½ cup amounts, as you can always add more later as desired.
If you decide to go creamy with this one, I recommend well blending out the chunks and while soup is in its final simmer, remove pot from heat to cool and add either ½ cup (or more) of whipping cream, or half & half. Then re-heat slowly.
It is great without cream though, side we have the grilled cheese element!
If you leave soup thicker, also great leftover with pasta or gnocchi :)
I love what good tomatoes and garlic can do. Pair that with an awesome grilled cheese, and you have a dinner you can be proud of!