Roasted Tomato & Basil soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

No matter how much we learn from the environment we were raised in, we all have certain preferences ‘just because’. Some of us prefer savory over sweet, spicy over seasoned, saucy over soupy, and the list goes on.

My daughter has always been a sauce/dip person: fries into ketchup, veggies in ranch (she claims that she invented dipping almonds in Caesar dressing as a snack) and the list goes on. She has also always loved soups as well, and of course, dipping things into that. When we moved here to the Mayan Riviera, we didn’t eat soup as often as we did in Canada because of the climate factor. But, after a while , we sure did miss them.  After all, we spent many a winter’s night comforted by a warm soup or stew.

When I make soup, I always double, triple, whatever the batch, so that I can freeze the leftovers.  I buy these handy little one-liter containers here.  They have massive stores here simply for disposable items so they are everywhere and quite cheap.  It saves me from all of my Tupperware ending up in the freezer. Then, when someone is sick in my family or elsewhere, I miraculously pull (usually chicken noodle) one out of the freezer and proceed to appear like the best mom/friend ever. When in reality, it was just a little bit of planning.  Shhh, don’t tell.

I have roasted many a vegetable and pureed it into soup, but this is hands down my favorite. The original recipe is Ina Garten’s and is very popular on the web.  I personally think any recipe of hers that I’ve tried is pretty much perfect and doesn’t need to be messed with, but I will admit,  I do make a few changes to it just because I like to use all fresh, roasted vegetables, no cans (mostly because when we first moved here, decent Italian canned tomatoes were hard to find).

I love a creamy textured soup, but not with all the dairy in it. This soup is so velvety just with chicken stock. The basil is the shining star here. And because I was being so good, I thought I would treat myself, so I made a grilled cheese sandwich . Of course, you can use any cheese you like.

Hope it keeps you warm this winter.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 lbs ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tab olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tab unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 5 cups chicken stock

 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Toss tomatoes with 1/3 cup olive oil.  Lay on a baking sheet (use foil to save cleanup). Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute onions and garlic with 2 Tab of olive oil, butter, and red pepper flakes until onion is translucent and starts to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the basil, thyme, chicken stock, and tomatoes.  Bring the soup to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes before transferring the soup to a blender and puree.  Pour back into stockpot and keep warm while you make your grilled cheese if desired.

 

Adapted from The Food Network

 

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