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Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking
It's one way of making sure you have a nice, thick soup, but it's not a requirement.
Ruthy is a Recipe Tester for Food52
It's not absolutely imperative, but it does help the overall texture and flavor of the bisque. If you're looking for a way to make bisque GF, I've had success by cooking onions way way down (not browning, but with lots of butter or olive oil) and then blending them with an immersion blender. It's not the nutty flavor of a good roux, but it helps with the thickness and texture.
I have never made a bisque without a roux! But there are certainly a few ways to thicken a soup, a roux isn't essential.
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
The traditional thickener for a bisque is rice, so no you don't need a roux.
Every time I am in New England visiting friends, anytime I have a bisque, it is never thickened with a roux or white wash, just the natural thickness of good double cream. And I would trust they know how to make their bisques in New England!
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