We were going to call this tomato bisque, but we checked with our go-to guide for all things food-related: The Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. It turns out that bisque is a cream soup which contains seafood. So, even though we like the sound of the word bisque, we chose accuracy over style. We didn’t get this recipe from any particular place; however, making tomato cream soup is so easy, we just made it up on the spot.
After all, it’s basically tomatoes and heavy cream, and that’s pretty easy. It also works out perfectly when you want a quick lunch, provided you have everything on hand (we happened to have some homemade vegetable broth that we needed to use, anyway).
We suggest using San Marzano tomatoes for one reason: they taste the best. As for removing the cores, etc., we place the tomatoes in the saucepan, and, before we do anything else, we get in there with our clean hands and break apart the tomatoes, removing any tough bits or tomato skin. FYI, these tough bits end up in the mix next time we make vegetable broth. We’d use fresh basil if we had enough, but, in winter, we have not. For the cream, we like to use organic heavy cream, simply because it contains, well, cream, and only cream.
Procedure in detail:
Simmer. Place the tomatoes, vegetable broth, basil, oregano, and red pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Much longer and you’ll lose some of the basil flavor.
Blend. Place the mixture in a blender and crank it up to high. Let the soup blend until smooth, very smooth. This will take at least a minute, which is plenty of time for a quick wash of your saucepan. We know, because we do it all the time. Once blended, strain the soup into the now-clean saucepan.
Add cream and season. Stir in the heavy cream, and, if the soup is too cool, place it over low heat to warm gently. Taste, and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. Continue to heat, stirring often, until steaming, but don’t let it simmer or boil.
Serve. Ladle into bowls, and, if you have them, garnish with a few small basil leaves. If not, sprinkle some dried basil over the top; it’ll be good.
How about that, a great cream soup in under 30 minutes? Yes, it’s true. And, while the traditional accompaniment is grilled cheese, we went with fresh goat cheese spread on bread, which is pretty good, too. We always like soup for lunch; it’s warming, filling, and, in this case, a bit heartier than standard tomato-basil soup. It’s the heavy cream that gives it a nice luxurious texture. Perfect when you want soup to be more than just a side. Four stars.