Everywhere you go there's an excited buzz ("Did you hear they're predicting .......)" and we run to the market, stocking up on the basics, leaving the shelves looking like the locusts have just passed over. Schools get canceled or delayed before the first flake hits the ground and sleds are pulled out in anticipation of winter fun. Even though I grew up in Wisconsin where snow's an everyday event, I've grown quite "Southern" over the years and tend to get just as excited now days as the locals do.
I love the depth of flavor that roasting imparts to veggies, so I decided to employ this method for my bisque. All the veggies, including the canned tomatoes, were roasted until tender and caramelized.
The flavorful veggies were simmered with chicken broth, herbs, a secret ingredient* and a dollop of pesto (that's where the "basil" comes in in this winter soup), then pureed till smooth and silky. To add creaminess, yet keep it healthy, I used non-fat Greek yogurt instead of cream or milk.
And what makes it a bisque? I'm so glad you asked ........... traditionally, bisque was a thick, rich soup made with seafood or shellfish and cream. Now days creamy soups with pureed vegetables are often referred to as bisques. Honestly, I was just in a more bisque-y than soup-y mood and just liked the way Roasted Tomato-Basil Bisque rolled off my tongue. Hope you weren't looking for a super technical explanation!
No matter what you decide to call it; a soup or a bisque, I think you'll love this healthy, richly flavored soup. If you need any further convincing, check out the wordless endorsement from a satisfied customer below.
Sure hope you're fixing something good for me Grammy!
I'm a little worried, it looks a bit like that pureed stuff you guys used to feed me.
I'm NOT a baby anymore!!
Well, it looks a bit more interesting than the pureed stuff, but I'm still not sure....
Okay, you usually make something good so I'll give it a try ..........
opening up the barn door .......... WIDE!
Oh, I think I like it, but I probably need a bit more to be sure ..........
Taste-testers have to be certain when they make a call ........... after all, we don't want your readers to get any second-class recipes!
The only way to be sure is to do it myself .......... Grammy! I can do it myself!!
I love this stuff!! More please!
I'm thinking about that mystery ingredient, what in the world could it be?
I'm looking but I don't see anything strange.......
What in the world could it be?
Grammy, you're always playing these tricks on me ...........
thinking, thinking, thinking ............
Hmmm, still thinking, using all those culinary skills you've been teaching me ..........
I got it Grammy, I got it!! But I won't spill the beans, I'll let your readers find out for themselves!!
Oh man, it's gone? It was deeeeeeeeeeelicious! Maybe you shouldn't tell the readers what the mystery ingredient is, you know, what they don't know won't hurt them. Of course if you don't tell them, they won't be able to make this wonderful Roasted Tomato Basil Bisque for themselves and they'll definitely LOVE this one!
By the way, I grew up with 5 siblings. I learned to cook watching and helping my mom cook for her "herd". Now days, with our kids grown and just Scott and I at home, I still don't know how to cook "small". This soup generously feeds 8 people. You can cut the recipe in half, but honestly, you may be sorry. It keeps well for 4-5 days in the fridge and is one of those soups where the flavor keeps getting better! It would be great for school or work lunches. We love it with a toasted sandwich.
- 3 28- ounce cans peeled tomatoes if you can find San Marzano tomatoes, they are wonderful but if not, the soup will still be great
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 large onion
- 3 medium shallots
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 head garlic
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons pesto
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 anchovy fillets*
- 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup milk
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or foil. Drain tomatoes well, reserving juice. Set juice aside.
Cut tomatoes in half and place on one of the prepared pans with cut side up. Drizzle tomatoes with 2 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cut celery into 2-3-inch pieces. Cut onions in half then each half into 4 wedges. Cut each shallot in half. Place all veggies on second pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon sea salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Stir to coat veggies with oil. (I like to do this with my hands.)
Cut ¼ inch off top of garlic. Place, cut side down, in a small, oven-safe bowl. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and cover with foil. Place bowl on sheet pan with onion mixture.
Place both pans in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn tomatoes so that cut side now faces down. Stir onion mixture and return both pans to oven.
Roast onion mixture another 15 minutes, then remove from oven. Tomatoes should be roasted another 30 minutes for a total of 1 hour.
Cool slightly, then squeeze garlic bulbs to release individual cloves.Transfer garlic and contents of both pans to a large Dutch oven. Add reserved tomato juice, chicken broth and pesto, stir well. Add oregano, basil, anchovies and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, then puree with an immersion blender to a regular blender.**
To serve, combine Greek yogurt and milk, stir until smooth. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with a bit of Greek yogurt mixture and pesto. Serve hot.
*Don't skip the anchovies! There's no fish taste in the soup but anchovies add delicious flavor. I usually keep a tube of anchovy paste in my refridge. It keeps for a long time and I can't tell any difference from the canned little fishies (plus I don't have to look at them 🙂 Substitute½ inch of paste for 1 anchovy.
If you prefer the canned anchovies and don't use the entire tin, they can be frozen until you need them again.
** If using a regular blender, make sure to let the mixture cool a bit before blending. Also, when you blend the mixture, start slow and blend in small batches. Leave the center cap off and cover the opening with a clean kitchen towel. This will prevent the hot liquid from making a mess all over your kitchen.