This recipe comes courtesy of Food & Wine, November 2002. I've made it several times, and it's always good. Usually, I use Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes, because I like the quality. The quality of your tomatoes will directly impact the final taste of your soup. I've been avoiding Hunt's, because their tomatoes are always so acidic. For some reason, when they came out with their fire-roasted tomatoes, I wanted to try them. Looks like Hunt's got it's act together, because these tomatoes were a better quality than what they've put out in the past.
I made a few changes in this recipe, like taking out the flour, reducing the fat and changing the sugar to honey. Instead of chopping the veggies by hand, I threw everything in the food processor and hit the pulse button for about twenty seconds. We had some with dinner last night, and I froze a quart jar without the half and half. When I thaw it out, I'll heat the soup and then add the half and half at the end. I don't know what it is about soup; I can eat it year round and always feel comforted.
Fire-Roasted Tomato Bisque
INGREDIENTS: 2 Tbsp butter (I subbed Smart Balance buttery spread)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (I used a Vidalia)
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 cups low-sodium, nonfat chicken broth
Two 14-1/2 oz. cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. honey
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup Land o'Lakes fat-free half and half
1/2 cup garlic or cheese croutons for garnish (optional)
DIRECTIONS: In a 3-quart heavy pot, heat the Smart Balance over medium heat. Add the chopped veggies and cook, stirring occasionally, till veggies are just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except half and half and croutons) and continue to cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree soup with an immersion blender, right in the pot, or transfer to a blender, in two batches, till almost smooth. (If you only need two servings, here is where you freeze a quart for later.) Return puree to pot, add the half and half and heat briefly, taking care not to boil the soup. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with croutons and serve. Yield: 6 servings