Although I make a rustic tomato bisque that I absolutely love based on the one my mother made so often so long ago, I have an upcoming event for which I need a more sophisticated version, or possibly even a shrimp bisque, and went hunting on the internet yesterday for inspiration. On some blog I quickly found a recipe called Skinny Tomato Bisque, a name attributed to its low fat content, which was interesting enough but what really grabbed me was the brilliant orange hue evident in a photograph and resulting from the high carrot content. My own tomato bisque is nothing but tomatoes (and salt, sugar, butter, milk and flour). I had to try it.
I didn't have enough raw tomato, and I found the soup a little underseasoned as written, but with a few tweaks it was fantastic. My changes: I added a can of tomato sauce, substituted tarragon for her basil, added both black pepper and cayenne, added some sugar to pop the sweetness of the veggie flavors, and doubled (or so) the amount of sour cream that the author used. (Even then, the soup was not a creamy soup per se, it just had more depth.) I even took the shrimp bisque idea into account by threading a flattened/battered-then-fried shrimp on a skewer and suspending that across the bowl, dabbed with a bit of sour cream and garnished with a tarragon leaf, which brought a real WOW factor to the presentation.
Below, sans shrimp, is my version of the gorgeous soup I served last night, and I've changed the recipe name because the carrot is the magic that makes this soup stand out from all the other tomato bisques in the world.
4 carrots, peeled and diced, about 1.25 cups
1 branch celery, diced
1/2 large white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups chopped fresh tomato, peel and all
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried tarragon
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp black pepper
2-3 tsps sugar (I used three, but my tomatoes weren't very sweet and my sugar's very coarse)
1/2 c sour cream
In a 4-5 quart saucepan, sweat the carrot, onion and celery in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil until limp, about 6 minutes, and adding the garlic about half way through, then add the remaining starting ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove bay leaves and puree in a standup blender or with an immersion blender if you have one, until very smooth. Check and adjust seasoning (the chicken broth I used was salted, so my soup did not need more salt). The soup will be technically done at this point and you may go to the finishing steps, but if you have the time let the soup simmer for another 30 minutes to deepen the flavors.
To finish, whisk in the sour cream and add a few dashes of cayenne pepper.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov