Sunshine On A Rainy Day

For my sweet mother who is cozied up in bed with a cold and drinking TheraFlu (yuck!). She has been catering to my every need for the past three weeks (due to rough times and illness) so I wanted to show her I could (and would always) do the very same for her! I made her some hot homemade soup!

It was no question what kind I wanted to make for her. I’ve been trying to recreate the same Tomato-Basil Bisque for over three years now, so I try a new version of it every time I get the chance (or motivation, ha!). My inspiration comes from a gallery bistro I used to work at in Savannah, Georgia called Soho South Cafe. Between classes and projects as a student at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), I worked as a hostess in this truly unique restaurant. I remember marveling at how delicious their signature Tomato-Basil Bisque was as I’d sneak a cup of it on my break (with employee discount, of course!) and count how many phone calls we’d received that day from people all over the United States asking how much they could pay for the recipe for it. Bonnie, the owner & chef, would always grin with her refusal to give it out. It was always evident that food and art were her true passions. Her husband, Bill, made evident that Bonnie was his passion. He was always there for administration, to make everyone smile, and support Bonnie and their life together through thick and thin. There was even a fire once in the middle of the lunch rush, and it was incredible! They stopped all the orders coming in for the rest of the day, but nobody left! I’m telling you, the food there is just that amazing. Please go there and try it yourself! You will not be disappointed!

Now that I’ve taken you all down memory lane for a moment, you will soon understand why this recipe is so precious to me… Because I have finally found one Very Similar!!! You can easily make it and see for yourself just how delish a bowl of it truly is! Note: This is not the Soho South Cafe recipe, it came from Taste of Home.

Chunky Tomato-Basil Bisque

What You Need:

6 celery ribs, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup butter, cubed
3 cans (14.5oz ea.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

What to do:

In a large saucepan, saute the celery, onion and red pepper in butter for 5-6 minutes or until tender.

My red pepper had a twin growing inside!

Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 40 minutes.

MMM! ... This is when it starts smelling delicious & you Know it will turn out just the way you love it!

Remove from the heat. Stir in the basil, sugar, salt and pepper; cool slightly.

The Basil plants were on sale when I was out buying some today! I can't wait to use it!

In the mix it goes!

Transfer half of the soup mixture to a blender/food processor. While processing, gradually add cream; process until pureed. Return to the pan; heat through (do not boil).

Oh, wow! Look at that awesome food processor! (its new!)

…. And that’s all there is to it! This recipe yields five full servings and preparation time is between 50-80 minutes. It’s also great with grilled cheese on wheat, or simply crusty bread. Try it for yourself! And let me know what you think! … My mother sure did love it! I know you will too!

Much Love.


4 responses to “Sunshine On A Rainy Day

  • Linda

    Leigh, the Tomato-Basil Bisque was absulately to die for. I dreamt about it while I was at work on Monday and wished I had some. Thank you so much for making it for me, that and your TLC was the healing touch I needed. Love you, Mom.

  • Debbie

    Leigh, My daughter in law and son took me to Soho, and raved about this soup also. So after giving it a try, I know what you mean by craving it. I live in Ohio, and can’t wait to go and have that soup when I visit. Campbells just doesn’t get it any more once you’ve had this. I can’t wait to try, I’m in the middle of chopping the veggies as we speak. It’s a freezing snowy day out. Perfect Day for a soup you have been drooling for. Thanks for sharing……..Check out our blog we are having a lamp give away.

  • Debbie

    OMG!!!!! I feel like I’m sitting outside in Savannah. You nailed it. Thanks again SOOOOOOO much! I will treasure this recipe.

  • Paige M

    I found the secret ingredient!! It is bay leaves! Only simmer for about 15 minutes before you blend it all together. Let me know if you try it. Use about 5 or 6.

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