Ray gardner, sr




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Tomato Bisque - ☺♥


This recipe is terrific. I combined what I figured was the best of two different Internet recipes, and I even changed it during making it as I thought about better methods to achieve the desired results. I am reporting back with great success. This bisque has a very rich flavor and smooth creamy consistency, offset perfectly with the addition of the small crisp bacon pieces added at serving time. You don't want to miss this one.

Ingredients: (makes four generous servings)

4 tbsp. of butter

1 slice of fried bacon

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 medium carrot, diced

1 stalk of celery, diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced or diced very fine

5 tbsp. of all-purpose flour

2, 14 ounce cans of chicken broth

1 (28-ounce) can of whole, peeled plum tomatoes (with liquid) roughly chopped, or equivalent or slightly more fresh ripe tomatoes

3 tbsp. of tomato paste

3 fresh parsley sprigs

3 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tsp. of ground or powdered dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 cups of heavy cream

1 tsp. of sugar

1 1/4 tsp. of kosher salt

3/4 tsp. of white pepper

1 tbsp. of corn starch

Directions:

Fry the bacon in a one gallon pot on low to medium heat and until it is crisp and most of the fat has been rendered. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel and set it aside. Crumble it when it is cool and put the pieces into a small serving dish. You will later add bits of the crisp bacon to the bisque at serving time, in fact I reheat the bacon pieces in the microwave oven immediately before serving so they are hot and crisp when added to the bisque.

Add the butter to the rendered bacon fat in the pot and heat the mixture on medium heat until the butter is melted and mixed with the rendered bacon fat.

Lower the heat to medium low, add the diced onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

Whisk in the flour gradually and cook on low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. The idea is that you are making a type of roux to thicken the bisque.

I used fresh tomatoes from my garden instead of canned tomatoes, so I quartered and partially crushed them in a separate pot and heated it to low boiling for about ten minutes. Then I processed the tomatoes using a colander to remove the skins and seeds, yielding a nice juice with a lot of tomato puree in it. If you are using canned tomatoes they are already cooked so simply process them through a colander to eliminate the seeds.

Pour in the broth, tomato juice/puree, tomato paste, salt, pepper and sugar and bring the bisque base to a boil on medium high heat while whisking constantly.

Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add them to the pot. Lower the heat to very low and simmer the bisque base for 30 minutes, covered. I did not have sprigs of thyme so I used a teaspoon of dried thyme processed into a powder using a Magic Bullet® mixer/blender. I also just added the loose sprigs of parsley to the bisque base and later removed them and the bay leaf prior to the high speed blending step.

Remove the bisque base from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature, covered.

When the bisque base is cool, remove and discard the herb bundle. I used a type of large spoon with holes in it to capture the parsley pieces and the bay leaf and then I discarded them.

Working in batches, transfer the bisque base to a blender and puree it until smooth, storing each batch temporarily in a large mixing bowl.

Return the pureed bisque from the mixing bowl to the pot and reheat it over medium heat.

Whisk the cornstarch into the heavy cream and then whisk that mixture into the bisque while it is heating. Heat almost to a simmer but do not let the bisque boil.

Serve the bisque garnished with the reheated crumbled bacon pieces and with oyster crackers or Keebler® Club Crackers and butter. Yummy!

If you want to preserve this soup then vacuum seal and freeze two or three cup amounts of the pureed bisque base, prior to adding the cream/cornstarch. When you later use it, mix or blend the pureed bisque base with the appropriate amount of heavy cream and heat only to serving temperature. That will guarantee perfect creamy consistency.


Ray’s Cream of Tomato Soup - ☺♥
We had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year (2010) both at the house and at camp. I made tomato juice, stewed tomatoes and today for the first time ever I decided to make a homemade cream of tomato soup. It was a very good decision.
I read four different recipes from cookbooks that I trust and as usual I created my own combination of ingredients and procedures to obtain what seemed best to me. Thus, this recipe resulted. It came out really good but it also took some work.
Be sure to read the variations at the end of this recipe before making the soup as the timing of adding milk or cream can depend on how you plan to store the soup.
Ingredients: (makes one gallon of soup)
20 medium to large vine ripened tomatoes (We grew Big Boy® and Better Boy® varieties)

2 cans of evaporated milk or 28 ounces of regular milk

1 14 oz. can of chicken broth

½ cup of chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp. of Sea salt

¾ tsp. of Black pepper

2 oz. of Texas Pete’s® Hot Sauce

4 tbsp. of Cornstarch

5 cloves of fresh garlic finely diced

½ very large russet potato

1 cup of finely chopped celery

1 ½ cups of diced sweet onion

½ cup of diced sweet red pepper

2 tbsp. of Granulated sugar

4 tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 pint of Ray’s homemade tomato juice (or a 12 oz. can of tomato or V8 juice)

½ tsp. of Red pepper flakes

Oyster crackers or saltine crackers
Procedure:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the celery, sweet red pepper and onion, mix with the oil and cover the skillet. Stir every few minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the finely diced garlic, mix well and continue heating for two minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the skillet covered.
Cut the tomatoes into quarters and put them into a large soup pot. Add the tomato juice and the chicken broth. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, hot sauce, cilantro and red pepper flakes. Mix and heat to a boil, covered, on high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture for 30 minutes.
Use a colander to extract the juice and the pulp from the simmered mixture, transferring the extract to a large bowl. Discard the seeds, skins and any ingredient that does not process through the colander. When finished, rinse the soup pot. Puree the soup from the bowl in batches with a blender, putting each blended batch back into the rinsed soup pot.
Heat the soup pot contents on medium heat. Add one can of evaporated or regular milk and mix well. Use the other can of evaporated milk or regular milk and mix it with the cornstarch in a separate bowl, then add the mixture to the soup pot and mix very well. Increase the heat to high and stir the soup slowly but continuously until it comes to a boil. Boil on low for two minutes while continuing to mix the soup.
Turn the heat off and cover the soup pot with a lid and allow it to cool for fifteen minutes. Mix the contents and eat whatever you want and refrigerate the remainder in a large covered bowl. The next day you can process the chilled soup in whatever manner you like. I vacuum seal bags of the soup in two to three cup quantities and freeze them for later use.
My best recommendation is to make this soup without milk of any kind or cream, then vacuum seal cold amounts of one to three cups and freeze it for later use. When it is time to use it, thaw it in the microwave oven, put it into a blender and then add the cream and/or milk. Blend well and then heat to a simmer in a saucepan and then serve the soup. It will be perfect.
The flavors that come through in this soup are stunningly good, as is the consistency. I guarantee you will enjoy it far better than any commercial product and rate it at the top with any high quality restaurant offering of cream of tomato soup. The spices “kick it up a notch,” as Emeril would say. Serve the soup with oyster crackers or saltine crackers.
What a delightful way to use excess very ripe tomatoes!
Variation:
You will note that my original recipe contained no cream, merely evaporated or regular milk. Feel free to substitute light or heavy cream for one or both cans of the evaporated or regular milk. After tasting the soup my way, you may decide to add additional cream anyway as the soup flavor per the above recipe is robust and some added cream won’t hurt it at all. Do note that soups containing cream do not fare very well in the freezer. In short, if you use cream then try to consume the soup quickly, or, don’t add the cream until you are heating the soup just before serving it. Oh, yes … that works very well.

Marie’s Cream of Tomato Soup -


While searching for more of Marie’s best recipes I found the one included here that is different from my cream of tomato soup recipe. I’ve included it because I remember now how excellent her soup was … and can be again when you make it.
Marie used a flour based white sauce to get the right consistency for a cream of tomato soup instead of cornstarch as I used in my recipe. Both methods work. Enjoy!
Ingredients:
Soup base:
Quarter enough ripe tomatoes to make six cups.

One cup of diced celery

½ cup of diced sweet onion

2 tablespoons of sugar
White sauce:
Put four tablespoons of butter into a saucepan.

Melt the butter on low heat.

Add four tablespoons of flour.

Make a roux (i.e., stir it into a paste).

Add ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of white pepper.

Add two cups of milk gradually while stirring.

Stir over low heat until the mixture thickens (about ten minutes).
Directions:
Put the soup base ingredients into a one gallon pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil on medium high heat and then simmer it for twenty minutes on very low heat.

Process the simmered tomato mixture in a blender in small batches.
Strain each blended batch into the white sauce using a sieve or a colander.
Stir and adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve.

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