Thursday, October 13, 2011

Creamy Tomato Bisque ~ A Recipe using Fresh Tomatoes

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes.

After making countless batches of delicious, fresh salsa and storing up jars of homemade ketchup, what else to do with the last of these jewels of summer?  Now that the days are shorter and the nights are deliciously crisp, how about a nice, comforting bowl of creamy tomato bisque (a.k.a. Jeremy's all-time favorite soup)?  Pair it with a buttery, sourdough drilled cheese sandwich, yes?  Let's do this thing.

I used whatever tomatoes I had on hand, which happened to be this:

and it added up to about 8 cups whole & puréed.

The scent of sautéing the aromatic veggies in that bacon grease is some kinda wonderful, I tell you.

Now, this recipe does need to reduce for about 45 minutes to an hour, so start it around 4:30 if you're wanting to eat at 6:00.  I actually love the time in between.  It feels like being given free time to tie up any loose ends of the day because technically, it's during dinner prep. The fragrance sure does whet the appetite, and look how pretty it's already getting! (Also, about a half hour before reduction was done, I started preparing the garnishes and grilled cheese.)

It's nice how the pot tells you the soup has reduced by the ring above, don't you think?

So.  Chiffonade basil.  Such a fancy name for a simple technique.  Here's what ya do:  roll the fresh basil leaves up and slice them thinly.  The end.

Creamy Tomato Bisque
Serves 6

  • About 8 cups tomatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons bacon grease (Just do it.  Trust me on this one.  Or use butter if it's too much to wrap your mind around.)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder whisked into 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • Several sprigs of thyme tied together
  • 1 pinch (or 2 or 3) red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 (or 5 or 6) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup créme fraiche
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt
Optional (but oh so necessary) Garnishes:

  • Several fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade-style (see picture above)
  • Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • Ground pepper (it's such a pretty finish)
  • A drizzle of balsamic vinegar (you kinda need this one)
  1. Purée tomatoes in blender (a high-speed like a Vita-Mix is best) until thoroughly blended.
  2. Heat soup pot with bacon grease until melted and add onion, carrot, and celery.  Sauté until the onions are translucent.  Briefly whisk in arrowroot powder/water mixture.  It might become gelatinous but it will thin out as you continue with the recipe.  Add stock and puréed tomatoes and continue to whisk until it's brought to a boil.
  3. Turn heat to medium-low and add thyme sprigs, red pepper flakes, and pepper.  Keep the top open and allow soup to reduce to about 1/3 (about 45 minutes to 1 hour), stirring occasionally.
  4. Turn off heat and compost thyme sprigs.  If you don't mind your soup a little lumpy, add remaining ingredients, run an emersion blender through it, and you're good to go.  If you're like my husband and enjoy the bisque as smooth as possible, you may also want to pour it through a sieve, composting any chunks.


  1. Lindsey_ChicMoneyTalkOctober 13, 2011 at 7:57 AM

    Look delicious and perfect for the weather I've been having! Think it would freeze well??

  2. I froze some last night; I'll let you know how it thaws next week. :)

  3. I actually have this exact same thing on our menu this week! I like the idea of adding carrots. I bet it helps make the soup rich and creamy. And with some grilled cheese? Yes please.

  4. your blog makes me hungry:) That soup looks wonderful!

  5. Just made this. WOW! So good! Thanks for the awesome recipe :-)

  6. Awesome! Thanks so much for the feedback. :)

  7. This looks really yummy! I love all of the healthy fats that you've added. I'm going to be hosting a blog carnival specifically for soups, stocks and chowders, starting this Sunday. I would love it if you would come over and post this recipe. Here's a link with more info.

    I hope to see you there!

  8. Lovely recipe! I am totally with you on the bacon grease. ;)

    You could also substitute gelatin for the flour for a thickener and boost the protein.

  9. Okay, we are on a nightshade-free thing right now. So what was I thinking? Coming here and getting all worked up and drooly for nothing. Thanks a lot! Oh, well, probably my own darn fault.

  10. Amy @ Homestead RevivalOctober 31, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    Katie, Wow!! That is the CUTEST blog header!! Did you do that yourself? Thanks for linking up the Tomato Bisque recipe. I saw your post as my daughter was chopping up roma tomatoes trying to save them before they went bad. And you reminded me of ketchup... need to make that!

  11. You make me want to stop in for dinner!

  12. Thank you! My friend designed the header. :) Hooray for homemade ketchup!

  13. You soup looks so yummy!

  14. Oh. My. This sounds amazing. Now how am I going to wait until August or September when I'm lousy with tomatoes?! ;)

  15. could you use coconut flour to bulk this up?!

  16. like is that one of the 'gluten-free' variety you are talking about?

  17. I actually use arrowroot powder, but you can try coconut flour.

  18. what do you do with the garlic? sautee it with the onions or add it later? Its missing from the directions below


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