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Tomato & Roasted Garlic Soup with Smoked Mozz Croutons

March 16, 2011

It has been a REALLY long time since my last post.  I know.  Apparently in the last semester of graduate school, one only eats cereal and really mindless, fast foods.  Therefore, I temporarily lost all creative cooking energy.  But, never fear, in light of an honored soup-loving guest in our home, I have, once again, entered my teensy kitchen to do more than wash my cereal bowl!

I’ll be honest.  I don’t usually like tomato soup (since I’m not a lover of tomatoes) and this recipe began with other inspiration.  That inspiration is the beautiful braid of deliciously smokey mozzarella (cholov yisrael) that I found in the kosher section of the new grocery store in my neighborhood, which, by the way, cost only $3.50 (a steal for kosher cheese).  Though it’s been delightful to snack on, I was thinking of other excellent uses for it.  I knew it would be amazing on toast, hence the smoked mozz crouton.  And what goes better with grilled cheese (of sorts) than tomato soup?  I figured I’d play with the soup so it was not crazy tomatoey and added my favorite ingredient: roasted garlic.  The result was a new twist on the ultimate comfort food.

Soup Ingredients
1 cup coarsely chopped white onion

1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrot
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 jalapeno, seeded, devained and finely diced

1 head roasted garlic
One 28 oz. can chunky crushed tomatoes with basil, garlic & oregano (I used Furmano‘s brand)
56 oz. vegetable stock (2 of the tomato cans)
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle powder (optional…mimics the smoke in the crouton)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon (about 6 small leaves) fresh basil, chiffonade

Saute onion, carrot and celery in oil for 8 minutes.  Then add jalapeno and roasted garlic cloves (whole) and saute two more minutes.  Add tomatoes and stock and mix well.  Then add chipotle, sea salt, black pepper and basil.  Let simmer until veggies are soft (about half an hour).  Then puree with an immersion blender.

Crouton Ingredients
1 12 inch baguette, sliced into 1 inch sections to make 12 pieces

12 small slices of smoked mozzarella
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Brush baguette slices with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place one slice of smoked mozzarella on each slice of baguette.  Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 until cheese is bubbly brown.

To serve, fill bowl with soup, top with some chopped basil and a crouton.  Serve extra croutons on the side (everyone loves grilled cheese!

This is the grown up version of tomato soup and grilled cheese and can warm any heart and soul at the end of winter (or any time!)

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