Croutons

We love croutons in homemade tomato soup.  We really love homemade croutons in homemade tomato soup.

Our favorite bread for making croutons is a dense, heavy white bread but anything will work.  Start with some melted butter and olive oil in a baking dish.  A cookie sheet could be used but I like to be able to stir them and flip them with a spatula while they’re still baking without having them hop out of the pan so I use a 10 x 13 glass pan with sides.

Add whatever herbs/spices you desire.  For tomato soup, I add a bit of oregano, a lot of dried basil, a lot of onion powder and a few parsley flakes.  At some point after the croutons are baking, I will taste them and add salt if necessary.  Adding salt is optional and depends on the bread you’re using and whether your butter is salted.

Cut the bread into small cubes.  For soup, we like our croutons to be small enough to fit into the spoon with a good bite of soup.  Add the bread cubes to the herb/butter mix and stir to coat.  Don’t worry if some don’t seem to be coated well.  You will stir more during the baking process.

Bake at 250° (or 300° if you want to watch them carefully) for maybe 40 minutes to an hour.  I never time them but stick them in the oven while I’m doing other things in the kitchen and I can watch them.

Get them as brown and crunchy as you like them.   Remove from the oven and allow to cool before using.

Because someone is going to ask . . the tomato soup is very simple and very good.  I had canned some tomato soup during the summer but I’m out of that now.  I still have quite a few quarts of whole tomatoes so I use those for soup now and may continue to do that and not can any soup this year.

Start with 2 quarts of tomatoes.  I use a stick blender and stick it down into the wide mouth jars and blend the tomatoes/liquid til it looks almost like a very thick  tomato juice.

In a pot large enough to hold 2 – 3 quarts, melt 2 T. butter.  Add 2 T. flour and stir but do not brown.  Once the flour and butter are blended, add 1 chopped onion.  Continue cooking and stirring til the onion is clear.  Add the 2 jars of tomatoes, stirring constantly till the butter/flour mixture is blended with the tomatoes.  Gently simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.  Use the stick blender again to blend til the onions are no longer seen. Add a handful of sliced fresh basil, salt, cracked black pepper and continue simmering until the soup is reduced by about 1/3 or 1/2, depending on how much liquid was in the tomatoes.

Shortly before serving, add 1 cup Half & Half. Heat and serve.

Comments

  1. 1

    Amy says

    My family is big on grilled cheese with tomato soup.

    The obligatory question – day old/dry bread or fresh?

    Thanks for the soup recipe – may family eats the campbell’s variety & I can’t stand it. This sounds like it might actually taste good.

    • 1.1

      says

      Oh Amy, there is a HUGE difference in the taste of homemade fresh tomato soup over the canned variety, give it a try you will love it!

    • 1.2

      says

      Like CJ said, you’ll never want to even look at storebought tomato soup after eating homemade. I made sloppy joes the other night and they use a can of tomato soup. Since I don’t like sloppy joes anyway, I used a can of storebought soup and it was not very appealing.

      It doesn’t really matter if you use fresh or day old bread because you’re baking it til it gets crunchy.

      • Cindy says

        Pioneer Woman had a recipe for Sloppy Joe’s a couple weeks ago and I made them. Never been a big fan and I just figured it would taste like Manwich.

        OMG, it was so good. We ate it ALL.

  2. 2

    says

    We love homemade croutons with soups and salads. I keep a bag in the freezer where I toss left over hamburger and hot dog buns, stale bread, the ends of the loaves (which we don’t eat). When I have enough to make it worthwhile, I make the croutons. I use olive oil and whatever spices I feel like, toss the croutons in the oil, and bake until they’re browned and crunchy. Can’t beat ’em!!

  3. 3

    Ray says

    YUM!! I am going to try this. I don’t think I’ve ever had homemade tomato soup.
    Thanks!

  4. 5

    Cindy From California says

    Judy

    We make almost identical tomato soup. Several slight differences:

    I saute the onion and some garlic in the butter/olive oil. I don’t add the flour. I don’t add the half and half (or chicken broth). (I am sure that I would love the taste — I just don’t need the calories!!!!)

    Heavenly!!! True essence of tomato!

    Cindy

  5. 6

    Darlene S says

    So glad you gave the tomato soup recipe too. I have about 20 quarts of canned tomatoes from a year or so ago and since my other half does not like spaghetti sauce, (he does like tomato soup), I’m going to try both this week. Thanks. Dar

  6. 7

    Claudia Wade says

    I watched Tyler Florence make homemade tomato soup on the Food Network a couple of months ago and we’ve made it several times since then. We oven roast the tomatoes first with onion and garlic and finish the soup with a foley food mill rather than a stick blender. We like the texture better that way. There is nothing like homemade tomato soup! claudia w

  7. 8

    Cindy says

    I know you and I have talked about this before. I am 55 years old. For the first 53 years of my life I thought I hated tomato soup. Then a “friend” fixed lunch and insisted I try some tomato soup. I politely took a couple tablespoons in my bowl. I tasted it and my knees buckled. I had never tasted anything like that. Now I could eat it every day.

    The only difference betweenh my recipe and yours is that I add smoked provolone. Which is kind of a pain because provolone is so dry it’s hard to melt in the soup. If it’s too hot when you put the cheese in, you end up with little slivers of leather.

  8. 9

    says

    Okaye, I am hooked………… Will this information be available when I move to NC and have time for such things? Perhaps in the lime green kitchen.