2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, smashed and peeled
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
28 oz whole peeled plum tomatoes, puréed (include the juice)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup of light cream
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil, chives, or dill, or a mixture of the three
In a large pot, heat the oil and butter over medium-low heat to melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic, stirring periodically until translucent and soft. Take care not to brown them. Stir in the flour until the onion and garlic are coated. Pour in the broth, sugar, thyme, and about 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Finally, add the puréed tomatoes, pouring them through a sieve to catch a majority of the seeds. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring to prevent any sticking on the bottom of the pot.
Reduce the heat to low and let the soup simmer, covered for 40 minutes. Remove the thyme sprig and let the soup cool a little before puréeing it in a blender or a food processor. Rinse the pot and pour in the soup. Add the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm, garnished with herbs.
*So called “winter” bisque, because I am using canned tomatoes. If it were summer, I’d use fresh ones, but in the winter and early spring, fresh tomatoes are soulless, flavorless rubbish and not worth using.