Thursday, October 31, 2013

Best Tomato Bisque recipe (+ Adaptations)

I adore a good lobster bisque, however tomatoes are cheaper than lobster. This is a really good soup! My daughter and I have pretty well liked the tomato bisque Costco (+ sells, but I wanted to figure out how to make my own. I knew I could make it for much less money, and make it even tastier. I wanted it to be easy to throw together too. I succeeded. This has a better, more rounded flavor, and is lovely with a hearty grilled cheese sandwich. It gently warms the back of your throat as it goes down, due to the Tobasco sauce. My daughter called it "heart warming food" (we laughed because she couldn't remember the phrase "comfort food"). I think heart warming food is cute myself.

See my notes about how to have fresh basil all year long. This soup just isn't the same with dried basil.

Leila's Easy Tomato Bisque

1 T. butter
2 T. flour (3 T. if you want a thick soup)
1 14.5-ounce can organic diced tomatoes
2 8-ounce cans organic tomato sauce
1 t. chicken base
1/4 c. frozen basil, crumbled while still frozen (or 1/2 c. fresh, minced)
1/4 c. sugar or xylitol (you may need a touch more xylitol, it's almost as sweet as sugar)
1/2 t. sea salt or Leila's BioSalt (recipe in my first post)
1 t. Tobasco sauce (or 3 t. Frank's Hot Sauce, as a second choice)
1 t. onion salt
1/4 t. granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
2 T. sherry cooking wine
16 ounces purified water
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 c. organic milk

In soup pot, make a roux of the butter and flour.
Slowly add the can of diced tomatoes, stirring to prevent lumps.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the cream and milk.
Let the soup gently simmer for a few minutes to bring out the flavor of the basil.
Stir in the cream and milk and serve.

You can thin the soup with a little more milk if desired.

I freeze the basil from my garden by laying a very thick layer of leaves on a sizable piece of plastic wrap. I then tightly roll up the basil-laden plastic wrap 'sleeping-bag' style. I place the rolls, packed together in a gallon-size zip-lock freezer bag, and store in my freezer.

To use the basil, I do not thaw it. I slightly unwrap a roll of basil and crunch it in my hands and release the now flaked  frozen basil into my soups and sauces. I love having the fresh taste of basil all year long.

Enjoy this soup while watching some episodes of Studio C, like this one about Bisque!

It's good not to take bisque too seriously.

More episodes here: +

Have fun, Leila.

P.S. I have included some adaptations to my soup recipe:

To make Vegan/Dairy-Free: 
You can substitute a can of unsweetened coconut milk for the milk and cream. Use deodorized 76 degree coconut oil for the butter. Use vegetable base instead of the chicken base, or omit the base and adjust the salt to taste. The coconut milk version tastes awesome!

To make Gluten-Free:
Replace the wheat flour with fine white white rice flour (neutral flavored), and make your roux with that.
Make sure to check your chicken base ingredient list, omit it if you can't use a gluten-free stock base.
You may also replace the Tobasco sauce with about 1/2 t. red pepper flakes, to taste.
Check your sherry to make sure it is gluten-free too.

To lower the fat:
Use about 1/3 c. (or more to taste) nonfat powdered milk plus 1 c. purified water (see pkg directions), or 1 c. skim milk for the regular milk and cream. You will then need to add an additional 1 T. flour (or white rice flour) to your roux to make the soup thicker. I'm warning you though, it is not as good without the fat.

A no added sugar version:
Use the xylitol instead of the sugar. You can reduce the xylitol to 2 T. and then add stevia to bring up to the desired sweetness level. I use Now brand 'Better Stevia Glycerite', which I purchase in an 8-ounce bottle from Good Earth Natural Foods in Utah. Do not over-do the stevia! Add it a drop at a time and then taste.

Author: Leila Wood