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The ingredients and process for this soup are fairly simple, but requires patience and time to produce a nice rich flavor. I prefer chicken or smoked chicken stock, but this soup is easily made vegetarian or vegan by omitting the animal based products. update: I regularly use cajun spice (a really yummy one w/no added salt) instead of the italian seasoning and basil listed below. The measurements of all the spices are estimated and should be varied to taste. I like mine spicy by adding more pepper and cajun spice.
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 2 -3 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 -2 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 -2 teaspoon honey
- 1⁄2-1 cup heavy cream or 1⁄2-1 cup light cream
- salt and pepper, to taste
- On a medium low heat, saute onions until soft and light brown.
- Add garlic, and continue to saute until fragrant and light brown. Reduce heat if necessary to keep from burning.
- Add tomato paste to pan, and continue to cook on low, stirring often, until tomato paste turns dark red.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients except for cream and salt and pepper.
- Raise heat to medium high, bringing the soup to a boil.
- Reduce heat again to medium low, and cook until volume of the soup reduces approximately 1/3 or until thickened to an almost sauce-like consistency.
- Remove bay leaves. Blend soup to a smooth consistency using either a hand blender or blender.
- In pan, add cream in the amount needed to reach a bisque consistency.
- Add salt and pepper and adjust any seasoning to your preference.
- Note: For a flavor boost to a vegetarian version, look for canned roasted tomatoes which will add a smoky flavor. A dash of liquid smoke also does the trick if you like the flavor. I also like cajun seasoning in almost everything -- use at will.