Sunday, May 30, 2010

Baked Tomato Bisque (aka Heaven in a Bowl)

I am beyond ecstatic to finally get a hold of this recipe. It hales from The Brasserie, a local restaurant, and I have never had anything quite like it. The night of our rehearsal dinner, we ate at The Brasserie, and I remember the soup being especially delicious. I haven't yet tried it for myself; yes, the ingredient list is pretty long. Still, I KNOW it will be worth it. Try it, you'll see.

16 1/2 inch thick french bread baguette slices
olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 TB unsalted butter
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with puree
¾ cup tomato juice
3 TB tomato paste
2 TB golden brown sugar
¼ tsp white pepper
½ lb mushrooms, sliced
½ TB chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp chopped fresh oregano
½ tsp chopped fresh basil
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups chicken stock, or canned lo-salt broth
4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 thin slices of Provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place bread slices on heavy large cookie sheet. Brush both sides of bread with oil. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Melt 2 TB butter in heavy large saucepan over low heat. Add half of chopped tomatoes, carrot, celery and half of chopped onion and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Mix in crushed tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato paste, sugar and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Cool tomato mixture slightly. Puree in batches in blender. Set puree aside. Melt remaining ¼ cup butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining chopped tomatoes, remaining onion, mushrooms, parsley, oregano, basil and thyme and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Mix in tomato puree and cream. Soup will be very thick. Add enough stock to thin to desired consistency. Cook until heated through, stirring frequently. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate soup. Store croutons in plastic bag at room temperature. Re-warm soup.

Preheat broiler. Ladle soup in 1 ½ cup oven proof soup crocks. Top each with two croutons. Top with mozzarella and provolone cheese. Broil until soup bubbles and cheese melts, watching carefully, about 1 minute. Serve hot. Yields 8.