Cast Iron

Tomato & Bacon Bisque

October  4, 2015
3 Ratings
Photo by cynthia | two red bowls
  • Serves 3 to 4
Author Notes

This is one of my favorite cozy weather soups, inspired by a tomato and bacon bisque I used to love back in college. This version skips the heavy cream in favor of a generous dollop of crème fraîche. A few rashers of bacon and a smattering of Parmesan add a savory richness that, matched with the creamy tang from the crème fraîche, produces a soup that's as satisfying as a heavy cream version, but just a bit livelier. —Cynthia Chen McTernan

What You'll Need
  • 2 to 3 rashers (about 2 ounces) bacon
  • 1 tablespoon rendered bacon fat, from above
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 ounces (1 large can) crushed tomatoes (or 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, if in season)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, plus more for thinning if needed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro or parsley, for garnish (optional)
  1. First, prepare your bacon. You can either panfry it on the stove or bake it. I like baking for ease of preparation. To bake, place the bacon strips on a rimmed baking sheet (foil-lined, if you prefer) or in a cast iron skillet, then pop them in a cold oven (no need to preheat) and turn the oven to 400 degrees. Let bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. The crisper the better for the soup, as it purees smoother.
  2. Drain and reserve the bacon fat from the bacon strips, set the strips aside. Heat one tablespoon of the bacon fat (or however much you'd like to sauté with) in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and minced garlic, and sauté until onions just begin to soften. Crumble two rashers of bacon into the pot and continue to cook for 20 to 30 seconds more.
  3. Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, grated Parmesan, and brown sugar, and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat off. Add the crème fraîche, then use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the soup until uniform in texture. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano to taste, and adjust the soup with chicken stock if it's too thick for your liking. If the soup is tart, add a bit more brown sugar and another spoonful of crème fraîche. Serve hot, with grilled cheese or a hearty roll. If you have leftovers, the soup freezes well.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Brianna Hammerly
    Brianna Hammerly
  • Chartorieah Sanders
    Chartorieah Sanders
  • Cynthia Chen McTernan
    Cynthia Chen McTernan
  • porsha

5 Reviews

Brianna H. January 2, 2018
This is one of the most delicious soups! I used a fresh bay leaf and thyme and Romano cheese, as it's what I had on hand. Make sure you sauté the tomato paste before adding liquids to "wake it up".
Chartorieah S. April 20, 2016
Does the sugar give a sweet flavor?
porsha November 4, 2015
There are no onions in the ingredients list, yet it is called for in the recipe instructions
Cynthia C. November 4, 2015
Sorry about that! It's fixed now -- it should be 1/2 cup diced onions.
porsha November 4, 2015
Thank you! I guessed when I made it tonight (accurately too!) and it's delicious!