Tomato Basil Bisque

¼ cup butter
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced onions
1 cup finely diced carrots
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
1 T dried basil or ¼ cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf

½ cup butter
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups half and half
¼ tsp black pepper

In a large pot, melt ¼ cup butter.  Saute celery and onions until soft.  Add carrots and saute a little longer.  Add 2 cans diced tomatoes, oregano, basil, chicken broth and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are tender. 

While the vegetables are cooking make a roux of ½ cup melted butter, add
½ cup flour.  Stir constantly with a whisk until the flour is a light brown color.  Slowly stir in 1 cup of hot soup to the roux.  Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth.  Add all back into the soup.  Stir until smooth.  Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.  Add 1 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 cups half and half and ¼ tsp black pepper.

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