Call me strange, but when it comes to raw tomatoes, I can’t eat them. I don’t know what it is about them (the texture, the consistency, the seediness) but I just can’t do it. That being said I can eat them in literally EVERY other capacity – and that even includes stewed or sun-dried. A cooked tomato to me makes all the difference, provides a rich flavor and changes everything.
So it comes as no surprise that I find Tomato Soup to be one of the most satisfying, creamy and comforting things to eat out of a bowl. It’s also extra special when served alongside a grilled cheese sandwich to dip in the soup.
So let’s take that idea, run with it and make it easier.
I decided to have this particular Tomato Soup not only be loaded with such deep and wonderful flavors in a thick and silky texture, but also have it enter the millionaire’s club by topping it with bite-size Grilled Cheese Croutons!
This may not be a department store café knock-off version of Tomato Soup, but it’s one that will have you making it for everyone this winter…and them singing your praises for doing so!
You’ll also see how quick and easy it is to make in the Instant Pot!
Here’s How I Made It!:
Start with a yellow onion…
And then take a bunch of scallions…
Then take some of Bugs Bunny’s candy..
Go to the Instant Pot, add in some extra virgin olive oil and heat it up.
Once the oil’s hot, add in the veggies.
Coat with the oil and stir and let set for a bit.
After a little time, the veggies will have lightly softened, slightly changed in color and will have released some serious flavor. Now let’s further this wonderful base.
Take some tomato paste…
…and mix it in with the veggies (and stir it often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot)
Now add in some cooking Sherry…
…and deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pot to make sure none of the tomato paste mixture is stuck to it.
Pour in some vegetable broth and deglaze once more.
Now it’s time to add in our key ingredient…whole peeled Plum/Roma tomatoes!
We’re gonna add a lot of ’em to the pot.
And then we’ll season ’em with some sweet dried basil…
…Old Bay seasoning…
…and Worcestershire sauce.
Make sure everything is given a nice, big stir and a final deglazing of the bottom of the pan. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure. *(See the “Jeffrey Sez” portion of the recipe)
While the soup’s cooking, let’s make our grilled cheese croutons! Take some bread (I used my favorite rye/pumpernickel swirl), some cheese (I used Kraft Singles American as it melts really easily) and some spreadable butter.
Butter only one side of each slice of bread.
Now go to a frying pan on the stove, put a little extra butter in there to slick it up and turn the stove to medium heat.
Once the butter’s melted, tilt the pan to coat as much of the center as possible with it.
Now take a slice of bread…
…and place it butter-side down on the pan.
Now layer in the slices of cheese, overlapping each other (making sure the cheese doesn’t spill over the sides of the bread. Try to keep it directly on the bread).
And then place the other slice of bread, butter-side up, and lay it over the cheese.
Take a spatula and lightly press down on the bread so it grills nicely and gets the cheese melty.
After a short period of time, get under the grilled side of the bread with the spatula…
…and flip it over and cook on the other side until nice and grilled/toasty. Just keep an eye on this process because we don’t want the bread grilling TOO long because it will want to burn.
When done, transfer the grilled cheese…
…to a serving plate and let cool. Repeat until you have the desired amount of grilled cheese.
When cooled (and make sure they are – otherwise the cheese will ooze out while slicing), slice the grilled cheese into bite-size croutons! You’ll have about 12-14 croutons per grilled cheese sandwich. Set them aside.
Now take that fun immersion blender…
…and blend up each and every tomato, carrot, onion and scallion in the pot…
…until it’s nice and puréed! We know have a wonderfully thick and silky tomato soup!
But NOW, we need to send it home. Add in some heavy cream…
…and give it a stir. Marvel at how beautiful the colors will become.
And finally add in some seasoned salt…
…and some black pepper.
Give it all a final stir.
Ladle into bowls…
…take a few grilled cheese croutons…
…lay them on top of the soup…
…and enter Tomato & Grilled Cheese nirvana in one bowl!
- 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch of scallions, sliced
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into discs
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 6 oz can of tomato paste
- 2 tbsp of cooking sherry
- 1 tbsp of dried basil
- 1 tsp of dried thyme
- 1 tbsp of Old Bay seasoning
- 3 28-ounce cans of whole peeled Plum (Roma) tomatoes with their juices
- 1-2 cups of vegetable broth – add the second cup for a slightly thinner soup (For each cup of broth, I used 1 tsp of Vegetable Better Than Bouillon + 1 cup of water)
- 2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 pint (2 cups) of heavy cream
- 1 tbsp of seasoned salt
- 1 tsp of black pepper
For The Grilled Cheese Croutons:
- 4 slices of a sandwich bread of your choice (I like rye/pumpernickel swirl)
- 6 slices of a melty cheese (3 slices per each 2 slices of bread) of your choice (I used American)
- Butter, for spreading on the bread and slicking up the frying pan
- *Each grilled cheese will make about 12-14 croutons when cut up. If you want more croutons, just make more grilled cheese!
- Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot. Hit “Sauté” and Adjust to “High” or “More” until it reads “Hot.” Add the scallions, onion and carrots and cook (stir and set) for 10 minutes until they begin to soften and get color (they will also be releasing amazing flavors right now so don’t cut this step short).
- Add the tomato paste, coat the veggies well and stir constantly for 1 minute. Then add the Sherry and cook for another minute, constantly stirring and deglazing (scraping) the bottom of the pot so the tomato paste doesn’t stick
- Add the broth, canned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, dried basil, dried thyme and Old Bay. Stir very well. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure for 5 mins* (see “Jeffrey Sez” section of recipe). Quick release when done
- While the soup is cooking, let’s make the grilled cheese croutons! Generously butter one side of each slice of bread. Add 1 tbsp of butter to a frying pan and set to medium heat. Once heated, place a slice of the bread (buttered side down) on the pan and layer on 3 slices of cheese (make sure the cheese is on the bread and not hanging off the edges too much). Cover with the cheese with the other slice of bread, buttered side-up. Cook for about 45-60 seconds on each side, flipping midway through until the bread is nice and grilled/toasty but not burnt. The cheese will have melted nicely. Make two of these grilled cheese sandwiches, let cool for about 5-10 minutes and then cut each sandwich into tiny squares. Set aside
- When the lid comes off the soup, take an immersion blender (or a regular one, but an immersion blender is SO much easier for this so you don’t have to transfer the soup to a blender and then back into the pot) and blend everything in the pot together for about a minute or two until it’s puréed. The soup will thicken up nice and good now
- Add the heavy cream and seasoned salt and stir well
- Ladle into bowls and top with some grilled cheese croutons
*Because there are so many tomatoes in the pot, this will take a bit of time to come to pressure. If the pot begins to count down before it comes to pressure with the pin still down, you can do one of two things:
- Just let it finish as it is with the pin still down. The result will be totally 100% fine and cooked (there is no meat in here – only veggies).
- Remove the lid and then secure it again (as you re-close the lid, the pin will pop up very quickly so you’ll need to press down and maneuver it slightly so it’s in the locked position again). Then hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” and then “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for another 5 minutes.
If you want your soup a little thinner, add in another cup of vegetable broth!
If you have another way you like to make your grilled cheese instead of the way I do mine, have right at it! But I DO suggest you use a melty cheese that is easy to cut into croutons with minimal gooeyness once it cools.
This is going to make A LOT – easily enough to feed 6-8 generous portions. If you wish to make less, just halve the recipe (but use the same amount of vegetable broth).