Is it raining where you are? Is there a nip in the air?
Please send it my way!
I absolutely love the fall for so many reasons–pumpkin, apples, football, crisp air, jeans, and comfort foods.
To me comfort foods are warm and rich and take me right back to my Papa’s house on a Sunday afternoon while the Cleveland Browns played in the background. If you are a Browns fan, you know we live for the food, not the game!
When I moved to Georgia, I was looking forward to not shoveling 6 inches of snow, but I was saddened that fall came so much later in the south. Once school is in full swing, I want to have to grab a sweater as I walk out the door, not my flip-flops.
So right now, I am craving a bowl of soup.
One to fill up my soul with warmth and memories.
Even if the weather won’t cooperate, and I am going to transport myself to fall with a giant bowl of soup.
Homemade Tomato Soup
We are not talking about canned soup here. We are talking about rich, creamy soup that will leave your taste buds satisfied.
There is nothing that takes me back to my childhood more than a bowl of tomato soup and grilled cheese. The soup typically came from a can and water was added and then it was served with grilled cheese made processed cheese on white bread. And I loved it as a child.
However, now that my taste buds have sophisticated and I realize the importance of using real food, my childhood grilled cheese sandwich would greatly disappoint me now.
So I take my tomato soup up a few notches by starting with a flavorful base of onions and garlic and toasting oregano to release the flavorful oils into my soup. I keep it simple by adding stock and canned tomatoes.
The soup develops into something beautiful from time. Time to simmer and the flavor to develop.
After the soup has been simmering away for hours, I puree it in my blender in small batches.
Is this step necessary?
Nope, but my kids prefer smooth soups. And guess what, to take me back to childhood, smooth is the way to go.
The Cheese Crouton
There is nothing better than dunking a toasted piece of bread smothered with cheese into a warm bowl of tomato soup so thick that it clings to the sandwich.
But, let’s get creative here.
I love so many versions of grilled cheese–remember my peach and prosciutto creation? However, brilliance struck me when I thought of French Onion Soup.
Isn’t the best part of that soup dipping your soup into a crispy crust of cheese and thick bread?
Well, for me it is!
So how about topping this soup with a thick slice of my homemade bread that has been toasted (to prevent it from not getting too soggy) and then smothered in cheese?
YOU WILL NEVER EAT ANOTHER CAN OF TOMATO SOUP AGAIN!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 4 cups homemade chicken stock, or your favorite store bought stock
- 2 15 oz can or cartons of diced tomatoes in juice, unsalted
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 6 slices thick bread (I used my homemade whole wheat bread recipe)
- 6-8 oz shredded colby jack cheese
- Heat oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and saute for 5 minutes or until onions begin to become translucent. Add the crushed garlic and oregano salt and pepper and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to simmer for 3-4 hours (30 minutes is sufficient but the flavor that is developed from longer simmering is amazing!!)
- Puree the soup in batches in a blender.
- Toast each slice of bread.
- Heat the broiler to high on your oven.
- Ladle the soup in 6 oven proof bowls. Top the soup with the toasted bread and smoother in cheese. Broil until cheese melts about 5 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler.
**Note: This soup should serve 6, but the 4 of us licked up every drop of the soup in one sitting!! Yep, it is good!!
Slow Cooker Instructions: Blend the cans of tomatoes. Place all ingredients (except from bread and cheese) in slow cooker. Cook on high for 6-8 hours or low 4-5 hours. Serve with grilled cheese toasts if desired.