Until recently, a creamy tomato basil bisque was one of those things I would pick up at my university’s cafeteria when I had little or no time for lunch. Then a couple of months ago my son, the aspiring chef, brought home some leftover creamy tomato basil bisque from the country club where he works. It was comfort food in a Styrofoam container. He said he had seen the chef make it and that it was not too difficult. “We can do this at home”, mom, he said. So, I thought, how hard can it be to replicate? Just a handful of ingredients, right? You bet! One of the ingredients he mentioned, however, I could not come to grips with using. I can’t tell you what it was.
Creamy tomato basil bisque is perfect for a quick weeknight meal or even to take in your lunch to the office the next day. I actually used a good quality canned tomatoes, and let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. In the dead of winter, using canned tomatoes is not a bad idea. All you need to make this creamy tomato bisque are a few ingredients. If at all possible, use fresh basil, it makes all the difference in the world. I’ve been enjoying this soup for the past couple of days at work with a little sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a piece of crusty bread. Yesterday I forgot the bread in my rush to run out the door. Oh, no what to do? I went to my friend’s office, she always has crackers! It was still good.
Tomatoes originated in the new world. Explorers took them back to Europe where at first no one knew what to make of the tomato or how to use it. Because of its bright beautiful color, they were often used as ornamental plants. In America the early colonists would not use tomatoes thinking them to be poisonous. We’ve come a long way since!
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- ½ tsp. cracked pepper
- 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 8-10 basil leaves cut into strips
- ¼ tsp. allspice
- ¼ tsp. cayenne
- 2 cups half and half
- In a soup pot place olive oil and butter. Saute the celery, carrots and onions until translucent.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, and basil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the allspice and cayenne.
- Using an immersion blender, carefully crush all the ingredients. Stir in the half and half and cook for an additional 10 minutes uncovered.