I love soup. It's always my preferred appetizer, and the perfect addition to sandwiches. Carolina has been dealing with bi-polar weather lately. Somedays there aren't any clouds in sight- with bright skies that only make you want to go to the beach. Other days are extremely cold + rainy & for days like the latter, I prefer to snuggle up on my couch and have some soup. Now I don't discriminate because I love them all, but my two favorites are tomato & french onion... so the moment I saw this recipe on smitten kitchen, I was sold. The body of the soup had great flavors of garlic and soup, and it was topped off with the best part about a french onion soup. I added a few spices because my Arab roots prefer very large bursts of flavor, but the key to this entire recipe is the crushed red pepper & the grated onion added at the very end for some crunch.
^I died & went to heaven because of my love for tomatoes...
the smell of garlic took over the entire house^
It's even better than it looks.
3 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large or 4 small cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
4 cups chicken stock
Bread of your choice, toasted until hard and lightly buttered on one side
1 tablespoon grated raw onion
1 cup coarsely grated cheddar (or more to taste)
Make soup: Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap garlic cloves in a tight foil packet. Place tomatoes, cut side up, on large baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil. Add foil packet of garlic to tray. Roast until tomatoes are brown and tender (garlic will be very tender), about 1 hour. Cool slightly.
Unwrap garlic packet and peel cloves. Transfer cloves, tomatoes and any juices to a blender or food processor and pulse machine on and off until tomatoes are a chunky puree. Transfer tomatoes to medium pot and add thyme, crushed red pepper and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings to taste.
Create cheddar lid: Preheat oven to 350. Arrange four ovenproof soup bowls, crocks or large mugs on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Stir grated onion into the warm soup. (I love this last-minute suggestion of onion.) Float toast slice(s) in each bowl, buttered side up and divide grated cheese generously over top. (If you’re using a wide bowl, you might find that you want more cheese to create a thick, broiled lid.) Bake soups on tray for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese on top is bubbling and brown at the edges. If you’d like it even more bronzed on top, preheat your broiler and finish soups for a minute or two under it. Serve immediately.