Monday, January 14, 2013

Easy Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Croutons

If you think this looks like comfort food, you would be right. Do you ever have those times where you are craving something but you don't know quite what it is? Then you thumb through recipe books, looking at photos, and then it see a food photo and your stomach growls and churns. It's clearly a message from below that you just hit gold. I trust my food instincts when my body tells me, "this is the one".

Some people give good gifts, and some people don't. My BFF of over 20 years, Gloria, a.k.a The Ginger Snap Girl, is the kind that gives good gifts. For my birthday this year she got me something I have been wanting...a cook book from Ina Garten. She blessed me with her latest publication, 'Foolproof', which is where this divine recipe hails from.

I don't post food/recipes I don't like. When I say, however, that something is truly outstanding, I mean it! This Easy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons is fabulous and this will become a repeated meal in this house.

The soup was flavorful and the addition of tomatoes and orzo gave it texture and thickness. We couldn't eat it fast enough but it was so hot we were forced to slow down. The grilled cheese hit just the right notes of crunch with the distinct flavor of the Gruyere.  We added a few of the cheesy croutons to our soup and did some dunking with the other ones. Fantastic meal!


Tomato Soup
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
Large pinch of saffron threads
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup orzo
1/2 heavy cream

Grilled Cheese Croutons
4 (1/2 inch thick slices country wide bread)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated


Tomato Soup
In a large pot or Dutch oven, 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, saffron, 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 medium 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 cream, return the soup to a simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Grilled Cheese Croutons
Heat a panini grill. Place the four slices of bread on a cutting board and brush lightly with the melted butter, being sure to butter the corners. Turn the slices over and pile Gruyere on two of the slices. Place the two remaining slices of bread on top of the Gruyere, buttered sides up.

Grill the sandwiches on the panini grill for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Place on a cutting board, allow to rest for 1 minute and cut into 1-inch cubes.

Serve croutons hot and scattered on top of tomato soup.


  • To save on time, we used ready-made chicken broth from the store
  • We use a grill pan in place of a panini grill, along with a grill press to place pressure on the bread
  • We used a round loaf of Sheepherders bread


Source:Barefoot Contessa, Foolproof


  1. Let me start off by saying, my stomach is growling just looking at this. And I wasn't even particularly hungry! Second, that first photo is STUNNING. I'm sure a big contributor to why I am now suddenly hungry! Third, I really need to make this asap. Wow. I love how you are testing on the Ina recipes for me! I haven't made much from her book yet but I can see I need to get going.

    P.S. I didn't get this post in my email either. :(

  2. This sounds soooo good! Great idea.

    1. Thanks, Debi. The weather right now would be perfect for this. Looks like it's gonna start raining again in the next few hours.