Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Panini Croutons

Autumn time just makes me feel like soup. It's been colder out and freezing at night, so when I got my new Food Network magazine and saw this recipe I had to give it a shot. Who doesn't like soup and grilled cheese sandwiches on a chilly evening?? This gave it a little twist other than your usual soup and sandwiches which was fun I thought. I tweaked the recipe a bit to make it my own by substituting a few things for what I had on hand, and I added a few more spices to the soup. We LOVED this recipe. Enjoy!
Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Panini Croutons
Prep Time:10 min
Cook Time:40 min
Serves: 4 to 6 servings.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup yellow onions, chopped (1 large onion)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 cups chicken stock
2(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon granulated sugar (helps with the acidity of the tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup orzo
1/2 pint heavy cream

Grilled Cheese Croutons (see below)


In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes, sugar, Italian seasoning, turmeric, cumin, curry powder, crushed red pepper , 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (may add more to suit your taste). 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 after that first 15 minute simmer is done. Stir in the cream, return the soup to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
                         Serve hot in individual bowls with Grilled Cheese Croutons scattered on top.

Grilled Cheese Panini Croutons
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country white bread (I like to use California Sourdough bread)
2 tablespoons butter
Your favorite Cheese, sliced (I used half Pepper Jack and half Medium cheddar)

Heat a panini grill. Or if you don't have one, this is what I do. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. While the skillet is heating; place 2 slices of bread on a cutting board and place the cheese slices over the bread (I like to alternate between the 2 kinds). Place the remaining two slices of bread on top of the cheese. Butter the top sides of your bread. Then place butter side down in your hot skillet.
Butter the top sides after the bottom is golden brown. Flip your sandwiches and place another heavy skillet over the top, (this presses them like a panini grill)
Grill until the bottom is golden brown and the cheese is melty.
Or if you have a panini grill, 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.
Sprinkle on your soup and enjoy! YUMMO!

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