How To Turn Canned Tomato Soup Into An Exquisite Bisque

All bisques are soup, but not all soups are bisque. And no matter what — every bisque requires some kind of enrichment. Since many bisques are tomato-based, your favorite can of tomato soup is a perfect place to start. Most canned tomato soups contain only a few ingredients: tomatoes, aromatic vegetables like celery and garlic, a little sugar, and water. Therefore, they're the ideal foundation.

The most traditional adjunct is heavy cream, but you can also use your favorite non-dairy creamer, a roux, or even rice. A pat of sweet butter can even make it voluptuous. Once the thickener added to your favorite tomato soup, you only need to simmer it to have a lovely bowl of tomato bisque. 

A traditional bisque contains seafood like lobster or shrimp, but at its heart it's nothing more than a thickened, smooth, and creamy soup. How elaborate your bisque turns out will depend on your budget and available time, because none of what follows requires specialized skill.

One, two, three: elevate

For a traditional flavor, add a little white wine or sherry along with the cream. If that's not your thing, vegetable or chicken stock will round things out nicely. Garnish with minced fresh chives or basil just before serving. You can season your tomato bisque with anything you like, including cayenne pepper. Roasted cumin seeds also make a delicious, earthy addition.

If you're in the mood for a seafood bisque, boil the lobster, crab, or shrimp first, remove the shells, and set the meat aside. Sauté the shells in a blend of butter and oil until their color deepens, then remove them and add your other ingredients. Be sure to save the cooked meat until the end, barely heating it through before serving. So, the next time you see an ordinary can of tomato soup in your cupboard, get ready to make some magic — an exquisite bisque awaits.