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The Perfect Union-Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons

Being a food blogger, for me, means that I not only like to write about food and talk about food, I also love to read about food. Which means I love to explore other food bloggers. The other day I discovered Damn Delicious and when I saw a recipe for Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons I had to at least give it a go.

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Growing up we all have Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup memories and so the thought of combining these two comfort foods into one recipe made my heart sing. Granted I was raised by a hippie Mom who raised me on organic produce and a vegetarian diet, well before it was trendy so this “comfort food” was one I had to discover at the homes of friends. However, even with that childhood history I remember the first time I saw that pinkish red soup and melted cheese placed in front of me, I knew I had discovered something very important.

 

I also love food history and from what I can discover the marriage between Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese occurred sometime around the 1960s. This was when the modern day convenience foods really took off.

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As for grilled cheese, the sandwich that we know and love today came about sometime around the 1920’s. Granted before that there were French versions, the Croque Monsieur, however grilled cheese in its current glory came about after sliced bread and sliced cheese became popular. Kraft started it’s first plant in 1914 and the Kraft singles of today came about in 1965.

 

In 1939 the Boston Cooking School Cookbook talked about a cheese sandwich that was broiled or friend in a pan with butter. In 1953 the Joy of Cooking talked about a cheese sandwich toasted in a waffle iron. However, it was the 1960s that actually saw these sandwiches refered to as “grilled” cheese instead of melted or toasted cheese. Ok sure it may be semantics, but this is food history.

 

As for the tomato soup it has a much greater history. The tomato soup recipe has been dated back to 1841 to a Lettice Bryan, a Kentucky housewife. However, we all know that it was Campbells that made tomato soup what it is today. John T Dorrance made the condensed tomato soup recipe in 1897 and well the rest is history, pun intended. This red and white can of soup has taken over the world, become an iconic legend and truly become a part of the hearts and minds of childhoods everywhere.

 

As for the adaptation by Damn Delicious of Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons this recipe just made me happy. It was warm, cozy, filling, decadent, creative and took a tradition and put enough of a spin on it to make you feel cutting edge. The tomato soup was creamy, a little zesty from the crushed red pepper and with a hint of sweetness. And well the croutons just were cheesy toasty goodness.

 

Here is the recipe if you would also like to experience a slice of history, a little bit of comfort and well just a warm and cozy winter recipe:

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish
  • FOR THE GRILLED CHEESE CROUTONS
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slices wheat bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat olive oil in a grill pan over medium-high heat. Spread 1/2 tablespoon butter over 1 side of each bread slice. Turn the slices over and top 2 slices with cheddar and pleace remaining 2 slices of bread on top, buttered sides up. Add sandwich to pan and grill until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted, about 2-3 minutes per side. Let cool for 1 minute and cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and bay leaf and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Stir in tomatoes and mash, using a potato masher, until broken down into smaller pieces. Stir in heavy cream and brown sugar.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

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  • Puree with an immersion blender. Stir in vegetable broth until heated through, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve immediately with “croutons”, garnished with parsley.

 

On a side note, this is also the perfect recipe if you want to cook with your kids, ok sure I had to borrow some kids since I don’t have any of my own, but they loved it. They love the immersion blender and it is quick, simple and it is a recipe they can relate to. Cheers!

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