Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tomato Bisque

There's this tea room in Lexington called the Greentree Tea Room.  It's very old-fashioned, very traditional and of course, very Southern.

And every December, they have Tomato Bisque on the menu.  It's the best stuff I've ever had in a bowl.  If I'm ever asked to be on The Best Thing I Ever Ate, I'm totally picking this soup.  (Food Network?  Are you there?)

So, after our annual trek there last December, I spent the next three months of my life trying to copy the bisque.  My persistence paid off, and this is pretty darn close to what the Greentree serves.

And now you get to benefit from my obsession to replicate a bowl of soup.  I know I need help.

We'll start with some onions and garlic in butter.  What's new.

And then pour in some rice - a really really full 1/3 cup.

Okay, now add the flour, and stir it around.

Do you like my heart-shaped tablespoon?  Special, I know.  I found it in my things from storage.  And I really like it.

Okay, now dump in these things:

And some seasonings:

Here's what we have: salt, sugar, pepper, red pepper flakes, and thyme.

Cover it and let it simmer for awhile.  You want the rice to actually be overcooked.  It needs to be super plump and soft - this is not the place for al dente.

Okay, then.  Time to take this soup from a regular tomato and rice soup to a rich and delicious tomato bisque.

Here's what we're going to add:


home-grown pesto.

Stir it all together, make sure it's hot, and you're done.

Yum, y'all.

Some homemade garlic croutons would be super yummy on top.  But the soup by itself is really out of this world.

If I do say so myself.

Tomato Bisque
Inspired by the Greentree Tea Room

2 T butter
2 onions, diced very small
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 T flour
Heaping 1/3 cup rice, uncooked
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 T sugar
2 cups half-and-half
2 T pesto

Melt the butter in a large pot.  Add the onions and saute over medium heat until very tender, about 15 minutes.  Stir them frequently so they don't brown.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute.  Add the flour and rice and stir to incorporate.  Stir in the stock and crushed tomatoes.  Add the seasonings (salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme and sugar).  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 40-45 minutes, stirring frequently so the rice does not stick to the bottom.  When the rice is very tender - even overcooked - add in the half-and-half and pesto.  Heat through and serve immediately.


Bethany said...


Debi said...

I discovered this soup when a mutual friend's (Julie Wells) mother made it while visiting Julie's family in Franklin. I've been obsessed ever since! In lieu the traditional Super Bowl fare, I made your soup tonight. I LOVE IT! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Elizabeth said...

I just love Julie and Gail! Loved your comment, Debi! Thanks for stopping by and so glad you love this soup too! :)

Little Debi P said...

Tonight I spent time reading your other blog. Enjoyed it as much as the recipes! :)

Elizabeth said...

Thanks Little Debi! And I checked out your blog - it's great!

Little Debi P said...

Mutual admiration is a beautiful thing!