Fresh Tomato Bisque
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
6 oz tomato paste
1 cup wine
2 tbsp salt
1-2 tbsp black pepper
5 lbs diced fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup sugar
Bouquet garni of fresh herbs
1 cup cream
-Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
-Sweat the onion in the oil until soft and translucent.
-Add the garlic, stirring until aromatic.
-Add the tomato paste and stir until it deepens in color and smells sweet, a few minutes.
-Add the wine, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cook until the wine is reduced and the mixture is thick.
-Add the tomatoes and sugar and return to a boil while stirring. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the herbs. Simmer for 30 minutes.
– Remove the herbs and puree the soup using a stick blender or in batches in a food processor or blender.
– Add the cream and heat through.
Bisques are cream soups typically based on a crustacean (lobster, shrimp, etc) broth. Cream soups with vegetable bases, such as tomato and pumpkin, have also come to be called Bisques. They are often served with croutons or hard bread to soak in the soup.
If fresh herbs aren’t available (what!? Every chef out there will give you a long list of reasons to avoid dried herbs, and fresh herbs are available more and more year-round at most grocery stores) a tablespoon of dried thyme, herbs de provence, fines herbed, or any other herbs could be used. I used fresh thyme, rosemary, and savory.
Onion and cloves of garlic can be any size you wish. Larger ones will obviously give the final product more of that flavor.
I think tomato paste is a pretty awesome product. It’s a great way to thicken sauces and soups without roux or cornstarch and it adds more flavor. It is a little tart and acidy right out of the can or tube though, so cooking it so that it caramelizes a bit really helps. It will turn from bright red to a nice brick red as it cooks. I suppose you can reduce your own tomatoes to make paste, but the store products are pretty good.
The sugar helps cut the acidic taste of the tomatoes. It is always a great addition to tomato based soups and sauces. A sugar substitute could probably be used.
The amount of cream can be higher or lower depending on your taste prefernce. It is important to use cream as milk will curdle in the acid of the tomatoes and make for an unattractive soup.