A timeless pairing, done ultimate-style. The best grilled cheese recipe ever, along with an outstandingly creamy (yet cream-free) tomato soup, are made world-class thanks to Food Network Canada Chef School’s Roger Mooking, who takes the classic coupling to a whole new level. This isn’t the typical lunch from your childhood, but an epicurean’s delight that’s layered and loaded with top-level ingredients. Along with a step-by-step video, Roger offers ingredient shopping tips, techniques and tricks for the greatest grilled cheese and tomato soup of your life. With this classic combo, it’s all in the details.

 

For the Tastiest Cream of Tomato Soup, Skip the Can

Roger begins by making the tomato soup for dunking, but it’s potatoes, not tomatoes, that start things off. The spuds, when pureed, add dairy-free creaminess to the dish without feeling too heavy – there’s a lot of cheese on the way, after all.

An amazing tip here for “roasted” tomato soup flavour without spending the time roasting tomatoes, Roger uses smoky chipotle peppers in adobo, which lends great depth and a little kick. Finally, fresh tomatoes are stirred in to add brightness and umami punch. After simmering the vegetables until tender, it’s time to blend.

Post-blend, Roger strains the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, creating that faux “canned” tomato soup vibe (but 100 per cent homemade and 100 per cent better). A finishing dab of butter adds silkiness and brings out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and onions. Basil, another time-honoured tomato soup partner, garnishes the bowl.

The Best Cheeses for Grilled Cheese

Now for the gooey grilled cheese. Roger uses a blend of stringy mozzarella and sharp cheddar, bringing both texture and flavour – it’s the best of both worlds in this gourmet grilled cheese recipe. He isn’t shy with the cheese, piling the dairy goodness in the centre of hearty sourdough bread, even allowing a bit of cheese to fall out the side and caramelize while grilling.

If mozzarella and cheddar aren’t in your fridge, or you’re looking to step outside the box, Roger provides this yummy alternative: “One that’s really nice and melty, like Provolone or Havarti.”

Fontina and smoked Gouda both work wonders in a grilled cheese, too.

How to Make the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich

“I think it’s important that there’s only very few elements from the grilled cheese, right? ” says Roger, who opts for minimal ingredients. “There’s bread, there’s butter, there’s cheese. So whenever you’re doing a recipe that has very limited ingredients like that, every ingredient really matters.”

We know it’s tempting, but don’t be stingy with the butter, it’s a core ingredient in the grilled cheese sandwich, making both quality and quantity count.

“Butters are not created equal, and you get some really pale watered down butters and they’re not great,” says Roger.

Irish and French butter is more expensive, but worth it here. While not absolutely necessary for the best grilled cheese sandwich ever, it certainly helps take it above and beyond.

Seasoning is also crucial and often skipped when making a grilled cheese sandwich.

“Make sure you season the layers internally,” says Roger. “You season when you stuff it with the cheese. And on the outside, on the butter, you season it with salt and pepper as well.”

For the bread, Roger reaches for sourdough because of its tangy taste. “So there’s a complexity of flavour in it,” he says, noting that you should look for a loaf with nice aeration and a nice crust on the outside.

Medium-low heat is the temperature you’re after on your stovetop griddle or skillet. This allows the cheese to melt slowly while the sourdough bread becomes golden brown, never burnt.

What Makes Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup So Good?

The mingling of crunchy, gooey, tangy and creamy elements is why grilled cheese and tomato soup go together so well. With this meal, it’s all about the contrast. For both kids and adults alike, there’s really no better comfort food meal, be it for lunch or dinner. It’s the timeless soup and sandwich combo, made Chef School-perfect.

Get Roger Mooking’s recipes for Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. And, for a Canadian twist, try this recipe for Tomato and Beer Soup Shooters and Mini Bacon Grilled Cheese.