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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tomato Bisque with Parmesan Croutons

While on a trip to the Pacific Northwest last year, I ate at a place called BJ's Brewhouse. I immediately fell in love with their food specifically their Tuscan Tomato Bisque in a Sourdough bread bowl.  BJ's is a national franchise but is not located in Utah. Becasue of this I had to try to recreate a copy cat dish at home. This is what I came up with:

Tomato Bisque with Parmesan Croutons

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced bacon (about 1/2 ounce)
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid), roughly chopped
3 parsley sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leave
1 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and most of the fat has rendered, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.


Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the pot. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.


When the soup base is cool, remove and discard the herb bundle. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Using a sieve over a large bowl, strain the tomato puree. Return the puree to the pot and reheat over medium heat.


Whisk the heavy cream and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Divide among warm soup bowls and serve immediately.

Recipe by: The Food Network

Parmesan Croutons

4 large slices of hearty bread (I used sourdough)
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
olive oil to coat
garlic salt

Preheat oven to 300. Brush bread on one side with olive oil. Cut into cubes and spread out on an ungreased baking sheet, oiled side up. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bread is crispy.

*The final touch to recreate the BJ's version is to spread garlic butter on the lid of the bread bowl and broil it on low for about 4-5 minutes until slightly browned.


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