As I write this, I am wearing my winter coat in the office and it is freezing outside. It’s exactly the kind of weather we expect and (somewhat) enjoy in January, but damn, it’s cold
I am wishing that we still had some of this soup that I’m about to tell you about. It went fast, which is saying a lot for our little office, but it was so perfect for cold weather that we ate it like it was the only thing to eat. That’s partly true because we don’t keep a lot of food in the studio, but we’ll just pretend like it bested all the other tupperware containers for best lunch of the day.
Homemade tomato soup is a fairly foreign concept to me. I grew up in a household of chicken noodle soup-lovers. My mom would make it from scratch with fresh, crisp veggies and tender, roasted chicken. Tomato soup for me, at the time, was a strong smelling mixture that came from a soup can, and I didn’t want anything to do with it. I (literally) eat my words now because homemade tomato soup is nothing like what you find on the shelves.
This all started when Jeff and I were chatting about tomato soup, and he swore that his recipe was the best (THE BEST) and that he would make it for the office sometime. Of course, this means that I’m going to make it. So I jotted down Jeff’s recipe, making extra notes for the grilled cheese sandwiches that would go with the soup. Because you can’t have one without the other. I mean, you can, but you’re not going to have a good time while doing it.
The creaminess of the tomato basil soup comes from the olive oil that is drizzled in during the blending stage. Use the good stuff. If you want a grilled cheese sandwich that will rock your mouth, coat it in butter and salt for a crisp, golden outside. The combination of creamy tomato basil soup and the crispy, generously gooey grilled cheese sandwiches is so awesome that we made a video about it.
So I’ll stop babbling and let you watch the video, because it deserves your full attention.
Tomato Basil Soup
1 cup shredded carrots
1 sweet yellow onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 package of fresh basil
1 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, makes 3
6 slices of sourdough bread
8 tablespoons butter, slightly softened
5 ounces fontina cheese, sliced
Saute onion and carrots in olive oil with salt & pepper until translucent.
Adjust heat to medium and add garlic, cooking for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves.
Simmer on medium low heat for 45 minutes. Once done, let cool for a few minutes.
In two batches, blend ½ of the soup on high with ½ a package of basil and ½ cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Put soup back in pot and let simmer while you make the grilled cheese sandwiches.
Thoroughly butter both sides of two slices of sourdough bread.
Layer a few slices of fontina cheese between the bread, I used 5 slices per sandwich.
Place in a heated skillet and sprinkle with salt. Let cook until golden brown, flip and sprinkle other side with salt. Remove from skillet when both sides are browned.
Repeat with other sandwiches. Serve with warm tomato soup and enjoy.