Soup really is good food just like the Campbell’s jingle says. Yes, soup out of a can is fine sometimes but who needs a canned soup when we’ve got really easy recipes like this Tomato Bisque. It’s quick and taste soooo much better! I was looking for a tomato soup that didn’t require fresh tomatoes for two reasons: 1) because most grocery store tomatoes are just down right sad and tasteless, and 2) because canned tomatoes speed up the preparation process. I decided to try this recipe because it had the added bonus of the cheese toasts. Cheese & toast? Sign me up!
This recipe took very little prep…just dicing an onion, mincing some garlic and opening a can each of crushed tomatoes and chicken broth. Okay, so I also had to walk out to my garden to get a few sprigs of fresh thyme but I don’t really count that as work since it was a beautiful Autumn day and I was happy to get a little fresh air. I was skeptical about the use of honey in the soup so I started out with just about a tablespoon. I mixed it in then added another tablespoon; mixed it in then added the last tablespoon. I wasn’t using measuring spoons…just squeezing the bottle and approximating tablespoons. The point is to start out with a little and add until you’re happy with the taste. I thought the honey softened the acidity of the tomatoes. This is an easy soup to double or triple, and you can make it vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
Now on to the cheese toasts. One word…YUMM! For the bread I chose a freshly-baked sourdough baguette that I cut into diagonal slices. The slight amount of tangy Dijon mustard on the toasted bread mixed with the sharpness of the cheeses was delicious! I had to make myself stop eating them and share some with Husband (he loved them, too). This recipe for tomato soup and cheese toasts only serves two but it could easily be doubled or tripled to make a larger quantity.
Tomato Bisque & Cheese Toasts
Recipe courtesy Abigail Johnson Dodge – Fine Cooking magazine
For the bisque:
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 hearty sprigs fresh thyme
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes in purée
1-1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
3 Tbs. honey
1-1/2 tsp. coarse salt; more to taste
1/4 tsp. finely ground black pepper; more to taste
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
For the toasts:
4 slices country bread, about 1/2 inch thick
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
4 to 6 slices Gruyère
1 Tbs. grated Parmesan
In a medium pot, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until tender and lightly browned on the edges, about 7 min. Add the garlic and thyme; stir until fragrant, about 1 min. Add the tomatoes, broth, honey, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until reduced by a quarter and thickened, about 15 min. Using a stand or immersion blender, purée about half the soup; it will be still be chunky and thick. Return it to the pot and stir in the cream. Heat gently and adjust the seasonings. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with the parsley if using, and serve immediately.
Arrange an oven rack to the highest rung and heat the broiler on high. Line a baking sheet with foil. Put the bread on the foil and toast each side until golden brown. Spread the mustard evenly on one side of each toast, cover with the Gruyère, and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Slide the toasts back under the broiler and cook until bubbling and lightly browned on top, about 2 min. Cut each toast in half and serve immediately with the soup.
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