Monday, January 9, 2012

Tomato Bisque, a Quick Meal

I have a few quick and easy meals that are made from the food storage I have on hand. It's for those emergencies that arise and I need a quick and hearty meal. It happens more often than not when my hubby is home and we get caught up in the Gettin Dones and we don't want to stop to fix a larger meal. 

Tomato Bisque, my way, is just such a meal. I came up with it all on my own. To see just how far off from the beaten path I was, I checked the Internet out as I was writing this blog. My conclusion from just glancing at the other recipes is some are using bay leaves and thyme and theirs takes longer and my is more home-made. To each their own.

I can my own garden rich stewed tomatoes and so I grabbed a couple pints off my food storage shelf with the intention that this soup would feed Kirk and I for a couple meals. Into the saucepan  went the stewed tomatoes with the stove turned on to simmer.
As the tomatoes heated up, I put in the blender some celery, onion, and carrots, then chopped them up fine with just a touch of water so they didn't sit on the bottom of the blender looking stupid, wondering what I wanted them to do. When chopped, I dumped the whole thing, water and all into the tomatoes and turned up the heat to cook them.

The choice to use the blender is so that the vegetables will be finely chopped and cook faster, speeding up the fixing time. Also so they meld better with the tomatoes, adding depth, not a distinct flavor of their own. Sweet bell pepper is also good to add but it changes the flavor quite a bit unless you add just a small slice or two. Yellow, sweet, bell peppers are the mildest in flavor, great in salads and the perfect choice if you want to add pepper.  

I like my veggies to have a slight crunch to off set the creamy texture of the soup. With this as my goal, it doesn't take long for the vegetables to cook to this stage.

Then I got out my canned chicken breast. Yes, I home can mine. I'm down to just three jars and so I'll be looking for sales and picking up some more to can. There is only a few months of the year I'm not freezing, drying, or canning food. I like Winter best for canning since the added warmth in the kitchen is welcome, where as in the Summer it creates a miserable sauna. So in January and February, after the holidays, I can chicken, pumpkin, and dried beans.
Sorry, I side track easily. I drain the water off of the canned chicken breasts into the boiling tomatoes and veggies. This is your chicken broth to which I add just a teaspoon of chicken bullion. I never use canned broth from the store, a money saver. 

Then a touch of garlic, salt, and black pepper is added, all this to taste of course. And if I have some basil growing, which at the moment I don't but will start some next week, I chop a little of it and wait to add until the end. Meanwhile, I've added just a tiny pinch of dried basil. (Fresh herbs should always be added last.)

If I don't have fresh, then I use a couple small pinches of dried basil which needs to be added much sooner for the flavor to permeate throughout the soup. If possible, add fresh for it changes the flavor quite dramatically and is so... much better. But one must make due with what one has, especially when you live in the toolies as we say. Which mean far from the convenience of shopping.

But during the time the soup is heating, I'm making fixings for toasted cheese and chicken sandwiches. With the chicken I drained from the jar, I add some chopped celery and dill pickles. Plus, some mayonnaise and a sprinkling of celery salt.  

I placed this chicken mixture on buttered rye bread with some slices of Jarlsberg cheese, a Swiss type with lots of flavor, and toast on the sandwich grill, the buttered side of the bread out. 
  YUM!!, a hearty meal in under thirty minutes. We are well satisfied and ready to work once more.
When the vegetables are done, then I add cream. You can add milk, half and half, or whatever is in the refrigertor. Heat, and thicken with a little cornstarch or flour.

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