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Tomato Bisque

(French, Bisque de Tomates)

Thick, rich, and easy to make--this tomato bisque will stick to your ribs. It's perfect for lunch with a half sandwich--and nice as a substantial first course for dinner. Serve hot to 6 people.

Garnish: thinly sliced basil leaves or minced parsley

Melt butter in a large saucepan and stir in the onions and garlic. Saute until soft and golden over medium-low heat. Pour in the entire can of tomatoes, stock, rice, salt, pepper, basil, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for about 30-35 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender, solids first, then pour back into the saucepan. Stir in the half-and-half, splash in the hot pepper sauce, and taste for seasoning. Heat the soup just to a boil, then ladle into bowls. Garnish with sliced basil leaves or minced parsley.