A childhood rainy day favorite of mine has always been tomato soup. With all this wind and rain we have been having lately I felt compelled to do my take on this past time. While roasting the tomatoes may seem a bit time consuming, it adds a depth that rivals any canned soup. Taking simple steps such as this only adds dimension to a soup that many may consider bland. I, on the other hand, find nothing more comforting than a bowl of hot tomato soup.
I also cannot think of any item that marries with tomato soup as well as grilled cheese. I was at a toss up on whether I wanted to make some version of grilled cheese or make oyster crackers for the soup; I kind of met up somewhere in the middle. The Irish cheddar crisps are almost that of a deconstructed grilled cheese with the simplicity and size of an oyster cracker. The final result – I couldn’t be more pleased. It was fun playing around in the kitchen and recreating a childhood favorite. If you have the time I highly recommend it, you may be surprised with where your creativity takes you.
Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup
Inspired by Bite Sized
4 Large Heirloom Tomatoes
7 Cloves of Garlic
Fresh Thyme, whole sprigs
1 Cup of Onion, chopped
½ Cup of Grape Seed Oil plus 2 Tablespoons of Grape Seed Oil
3 Cans of Whole Tomatoes, with liquids
1 Cup of Vegetable Stock
1 Tablespoon of Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon of Red Pepper Flakes
¼ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Begin by roasting the heirloom tomatoes. To roast, slice the tomatoes in half and place them facing down in a roasting pan. Toss in five of the whole garlic cloves, ¼ cup of the chopped onions and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Coat with ½ cup of grape seed oil, salt, pepper and cover with aluminum foil. Roast the tomatoes for about 30 minutes.
Once the tomatoes have cooled, discard the thyme. Reserve the tomatoes and roasting liquids; set aside. Using the roasted garlic, combine with the remaining two cloves and chop.
In a large stockpot, heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and brown the garlic and the remaining onions. Combine the roasted tomatoes, roasting liquids, canned tomatoes, and vegetable stock and spices to the stockpot and bring to a boil. Once the soup has begun boiling reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup while slowly adding the heavy whipping cream in a slow and steady stream. Continue to puree until smooth, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Irish Cheddar Crisps
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 ½ Cup of Irish Cheddar, grated
4 Tablespoons of Butter, softened
¾ Cup of Bread Flour, sifted
¼ Teaspoon of Onion Salt
Coarse Kosher Salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, onion salt and continue to mix until dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour.
Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll the dough out to about ⅛-inch thickness. Using a small round cookie cutter (I used a small circle fondant cutter), individually cut out small circular shapes. Transfer your cheese crisps to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, spacing them about ½-inch apart from one another.
Bake the cheese crisps on the middle rack for about 12 minutes or just until the edges of the crisps begin to brown. Remove the cheese crisps and transfer to a cooling rack.