Cheese Crusted Tomato Soup

*Cheese Crusted Tomato Soup*
Serves 4

Tomato soup and grilled cheese has to be the epitome of soulful comfort food.  I have combine the two here in a delightfully delicious combination.  This has real wow factor.

For the soup:
2 TBS butter
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
24 ounces chicken stock (3 cups)
3 ounces tomato paste (3 TBS)
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes (1 14-ounce tin)
1 heaped TBS dried basil
salt and black pepper to taste
For the Cheese Crouton:
2 large crusty rolls
6 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
chopped fresh parsley to garnish

First make the soup.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute until very fragrant.  Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, tomatoes and dried basil.  Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add salt and black pepper to taste.  It is at this point where you can blitz it with a stick blender and make it really smooth if that is what you like, or you can blitz it just a little bit so that it is still a bit chunky.

Heat the grill to high.  Cut the ends off of each of your rolls and then cut the middles into two thick slices.  Toast them on both sides under the grill.

Place four heavy soup bowls on an oven tray.  You want bowls that will be safe under the grill. Ladle the hot soup into the bowls, dividing it equally amongst the four dishes.  Float a slice of toasted bread on top of each, then sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese evenly over top, again dividing it equally amongst the four dishes.

Slide the tray with the filled soup bowls under the grill and grill until the cheese is melted and bubbling.  Remove from the grill and serve immediately with a garnish of chopped fresh parsley on top of each.   Enjoy!

Note - Warn your eaters that the bowls will be hot!