Creamy Tomato BisqueNote: This general technique works equally well with just about any vegetable that will puree smoothly once cooked. You can even add fruits like apples or pears. Just a week after I made the tomato version, I used-up some leftover carrots, purple sweet potatoes, celery, and onion to make a mixed vegetable bisque with a gentle purple hue and delicious creamy flavor.
2 28-oz cans Whole or Crushed Tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and saute onions and a pinch of salt gently until they begin to soften.
2) If using whole tomatoes, crush them with your hands. Add all tomatoes and the entire sprigs of basil and stock to the pot.
3) Simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until well cooked and the tomatoes are soft (about 30 minutes). Remove from heat and fish-out the basil leaves and stems. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4) Using a handheld blender or working in small batches using a jar blender, blend the mixture into as smooth a puree as you can. Move the puree to a bowl or another pan and clean-out the original pan.
5) Working 1 or 2 ladlefuls at a time, pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve back into the original pan. Use the bottom of the ladle to push as much tomato flesh through the mesh as you can. Discard any stubborn bits of flesh remaining in the sieve.
6) Stir-in cream and adjust seasoning to taste. Add more cream if you wish.
7) Re-heat the soup gently so that the cream doesn't curdle and serve hot in a shallow bowl. Optionally garnish with a dollup of sour cream, crackers, or homemade croutons.
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