8 medium sized tomatoes, quartered OR a 28oz can of tomatoes
1 sweet onion, roughly chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup of celery, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
½ stick butter
6 cups of chicken broth
1 cup red wine
¼ cup fresh thyme, chopped OR 1 tbsp dried
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped OR 1 tbsp dried
1 large sprig of rosemary, whole OR ½ tbsp dried
1 cup heavy cream
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter and wait until it froths. Add the quartered fresh tomatoes (or the 28 oz can), sweet onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and tomato paste to the pot and cook until begging to soften, or about 4 minutes.
Next, pour in the chicken broth and red wine and stir to combine. At this point, you should also add the herbs and stir the mixture again. Reduce the heat to a low and cook up to 2 hours, until the vegetables are almost completely broken down.
Once vegetables are completely soft remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool. Remove the rosemary stem if present. Put the cooled soup mixture into a blender and blend until completely smooth. It will take about 4-5 minutes of blending. However, the softer the vegetables cook on the stove, the easier they will smooth out in the blinder. Work in batches if necessary making sure not to overfill the blender. Once the soup is blended smooth, transfer it back to the pot and reheat over low heat. As soup reheats to serving temperature add the heavy cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.
I prefer the texture of bisque. The only thing making this dish a “bisque” and not just traditional tomato soup is the cream. If you find you prefer the soup the old fashioned way, simply leave out the cup of cream and enjoy. The soup will be delicious either way.
You can almost look at this tomato bisque as a bloody mary in the customization sense. Any number of garnishes can be used to take this soup to the next level. Sometimes I like using bacon bits and parmesan. Other times I prefer cheddar and croutons. Even things like pickled asparagus and okra would be incredible. At our house though, grilled cheese sandwiches are a mandatory accompaniment no matter what the garnish is. When it comes to toppings and add-ons, follow your heart and taste buds and you can't go wrong.