The weather in Southern California is cooling down and we’re experiencing a few days of rain. It’s the perfect weather to cozy up with a warm and comforting bowl of tomato soup and a hot grilled cheese sandwich. This is exactly what I did last week for lunch. I headed to Panera Bread for a bowl of vegetarian creamy tomato soup and a “big kid grilled cheese”. The tomato soup is smooth and velvety. There are hints of oregano and red pepper, but the best part is the crunchy Asiago cheese croutons. If you’re wondering what a “big kid grilled cheese” is, it’s a scrumptious grilled cheese vamped up with lots of big and bold flavors. Gruyere, Vermont White Cheddar, organic sliced American cheese and Applewood- Smoked Bacon are sandwiched between two slices of All-Natural White Miche and grilled until crusty on the outside and gooey on the inside. It’s compliments the creamy tomato soup and makes for a wonderful vehicle to dip. Panera Bread has a philosophy of “Good goes in” and you can taste it in this soup and grilled cheese. I was inspired to make this comforting meal for Derrick this week. I’ve always wanted to make my own tomato soup. It’s a good feeling knowing exactly what you’re eating and that you made it with good fresh ingredients.
Roasted Tomato Soup
Prep: 20 minutes Cook time: 60 minutes Serves: 4 to 6
1 lb of heirloom tomatoes (I use mini heirlooms and leave them whole, if you use large heirlooms, quarter the tomatoes)
2 lbs of plum tomatoes, quartered
2 red bell peppers, cored and quartered
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 large onion, sliced
½ C olive oil
sea salt and freshly grounded black pepper
2 14 oz cans of chicken broth
2 bay leaves
4 Tbs butter
½ C fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
½ C heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 450º, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic and onions onto baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes on the middle oven rack.
- Place roasted vegetables into a large pot, cover with chicken broth, add bay leaves and butter and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves and add basil leaves. Using a blender or immersion blender puree the soup until smooth. Add cream and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Let simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Serve with a sprinkling of Asiago cheese, fresh ground pepper and basil or a warm grilled cheese sandwich.
FTC Disclosure: I was compensated for my meal and for my time and efforts for this post by the DailyBuzz Food Tastemakers program; however, all opinions expressed above are my own.