Los Angeles has been hit with a cold snap – it was 35 degrees when I woke up this morning which is very unusual for LA. So I’ve decided to make tomato and rice soup with grilled cheese dippers. This tomato and rice soup is a hearty, filling soup using crushed tomatoes and basmati rice. And the grilled cheese dippers, well, they are just a delicious way to scoop up every last bit of soup.
This is a rich tomatoey soup using crushed tomatoes and a touch of tomato paste. First, onions and garlic are sautéed. Next, a little tomato paste and dried thyme are added to the pot and sautéed with the onions and garlic. Then crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock and basmati rice are added to the pot. The soup simmers for 30 minutes and finally a generous dose of cheddar cheese is added. The cheese completely blends into the soup and helps to mellow the tomatoes’ acidic taste into a savory, slightly sweet, filling soup.
Usually cream is added to this type of soup – but I went with cheddar cheese instead. I figured who has cream in the fridge all the time. I wanted this to be the kind of soup that you don’t need to buy anything special for – all the ingredients should be in either the pantry or fridge – basically an easy, tasty soup that you can whip up whenever the mood strikes.
This soup is so thick it could almost be called a stew. If you want a thinner soup then puree half or add a bit more stock until you reach the desired consistency. But I like this soup thick – and I think you will too.
Grilled cheese dippers are grilled cheese sandwich that you cut up into dipping size. Because the soup has a savory sweetness to it, the grilled cheese should have a bit of bite – so I went with a colby pepper jack cheese. The spiciness of the pepper jack works really well with this soup.
On a personal note – I just want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my blog this year. Whether you’re visiting via email delivery, RSS feed or if you’re just stopping by from time to time to see what’s up, I really appreciate your support. This is my first year of blogging and it’s been an extremely fun and rewarding hobby. So thank you again and wishing you all a wonderful 2015!
A couple of notes:
Cut the grilled cheese sandwiches up into about 8 to 10 “dipper” sized pieces.
I used vegetable stock but if you don’t have that handy, then add 3 cups of water and one veggie bouillon cube.
No need to have any cooked rice on hand when making this, just add the uncooked basmati rice to the soup and it will cook as the pot simmers for 30 minutes.
If you refrigerate the soup over night – it will be really thick the next day. It should thin out a bit when you heat it up but you can always add a little water or stock to thin it if you want.
When making grilled cheese, I used to always put butter in the pan and then add the bread. I don’t know if I’m just late to the party, but I read somewhere that you are supposed to butter the bread and add it to the pan instead. I did that this time and it worked much better – so give it a try.
|Tomato and Rice Soup with Grilled Cheese Dippers|| |
- 1 large onion - finely diced
- 2 garlic cubes - minced
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs tomato paste
- ½ tsp of dried thyme
- 8 twists of black pepper
- 1 - 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes - I used the Contadina brand.
- 3 cups of vegetable stock
- ¼ cup of uncooked basmati rice
- ¾ cup of white cheddar cheese
- 4 slices of sour dough bread
- 4 slices of colby pepper jack cheese
- Softened butter to butter bread
- In a soup pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil over low heat for 10 minutes.
- Add garlic to onion mixture and saute for 1 minute.
- Add tomato paste, dried thyme and black pepper to the onion mixture and sauté for 2 minutes over low heat.
- Add crushed tomatoes, stock and basmati rice. Bring soup to a boil and turn down to low to simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally so rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add cheddar cheese and stir for a minute or so so that it has completely blended into the soup.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Butter one side of each piece of sour dough bread. Add cheese to bread - butter side of bread should be on the outside of the bread - cheese on the inside.
- Grill sandwiches on both sides over medium heat until golden and the cheese has melted.
- Cut each sandwich into 8 to 10 pieces and serve with the soup.
- Serves 2 large bowls or 4 small bowls of soup.