Monday, September 17, 2012

zesty tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons

I was highly satisfied with the outcome of this soup.  It's a GREAT soup.  After my husband had a few bites he said that the next time his mother comes to visit, we must make this soup for her.  She loves soup.  I made the soup and my oldest made the grilled cheese croutons.  I was glad she made them because I'd have probably skipped that step but they made the soup all the more enjoyable.  She was the one who urged me to make this recipe.  So glad she did!

zesty tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons (adapted from Food Network Magazine, October 2012)

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups chicken stock
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup orzo (I used 1/4 cup barley)
1/2 cup half and half
grilled cheese croutons

In a large pot, 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, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, fill a 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 half and half.  Return the soup to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Serve hot with grilled cheese croutons on top.

grilled cheese croutons
4 slices country white bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces cheese, grated 

Heat a panini grill (we used a regular grill pan).  Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with the melted butter.  Turn the slices over and pile the cheese on two of the slices.  Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the cheese, buttered sides up.  Grill for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned.  Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute and cut into 1-8inch cubes. 

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