The other night, I was headed to the store for a few groceries, just enough for that evening, and I asked Husband what he'd like for dinner. Something light, was his response, so I drove off with ideas running through my head of what might constitute something light for an evening meal. When you make a meal you consider "something light," what do you choose?
I thought of shrimp with a light sauce or grilled chicken breast with a side salad, but Husband isn't wild about shrimp and chicken. Then I thought of something made with eggs like a frittata, but he doesn't like those either, and I was struggling with the possibilities. By the time I got to the store, I had a plan, though—tomato bisque and grilled cheese.
I already had brie and prosciutto for the sandwiches, so I picked up a small loaf of French bread—fake French, that is, because everything from the bakery department of this store tastes like Wonder Bread and has about the same texture—a large can of crushed tomatoes, and I was set.
A couple of years ago, I found a recipe for tomato bisque online and printed it out, and I have kept this now ratty piece of paper in a stack of similarly ratty pieces of paper wedged in with my cookbooks, but I couldn't find it when I needed it, of course. So, I found another one online that looked familiar and set out to make a few modifications. I didn't want to bother with carrots, and I only wanted to use four cups of broth instead of five, for example. I also didn't want to run the soup through a blender, so I skipped that step, too. I suppose you could argue I then did not make a true bisque because I didn't puree the vegetables, but my version of the soup turned out to be just great whatever you call it, and served with grilled cheese, it made for a light meal.
Let me say here that I know grilled cheese can be heavy, but the versions I make aren't like the grilled cheese of my childhood, or yours, for that matter. I bought a panini grill that crisps the bread just beautifully (don't judge by this photo), and I brush the bread with olive oil before grilling. A thin layer of prosciutto and a bit of brie makes a fine sandwich.
Here is the recipe after my slight modifications:
4 tablespoons butter
2 strips bacon, chopped
1 cup onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste (which I added for richness. Be generous—this measurement is just a guess)
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
In a large pot, melt butter and cook bacon until crispy. With a slotted spoon, removed bacon and drain on paper towel. Add onion, celery and garlic to the pot and cook on medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes or until soft. Stir in flour, seasonings and tomato paste and cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes and broth and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and whisk in heavy cream. Add salt and pepper according to taste. Garnish with cooked bacon.