Don’t be frightened by the addition of orange juice; it breathes new life into this classic comfort food. Topped with cheese toasts — as if your grilled cheese jumped into your soup — it’s the perfect bridge between old and new. A perfect start to a more formal dinner or great as a light meal with a simple green salad.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Grilled cheese croutons
- 8 slices country bread, cut 1-inch thick
- 6 ounces Gruyere, sliced paper thin
For the soup
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the foaming subsides, add the onion and salt and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes with juice, 1 cup water, and orange juice and bring to a boil.
- Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are melded and the liquid is slightly reduced, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Process in a blender or food processor in batches until the soup is smooth and aerated. Return the puree to the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Add the sherry vinegar and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired.
For the croutons
- Meanwhile, heat the broiler and arrange a rack in the top. Alternatively, use a toaster oven.
- Toast one side of the bread for 30 to 60 seconds, then remove from the oven and flip over. Top each bread slice with 2 cheese slices and broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 1 minute.
- Ladle the soup into bowls, and serve with 2 cheese croutons for each serving.
Note: Be careful when blending hot liquids as the heat can make them explode out of the blender carafe. To avoid this, only fill the blender halfway, remove the plastic plug in the blender cover and start blending on low for a few seconds before you kick it up to full speed. The soup can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container.
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