Tomato Bisque

There are people who take the whole “back to school” craze rather seriously. I know a family that makes 60-70 frozen meals before each year starts. All ladies from their clan gather to spend a day or two chopping, cooking, packaging, and labeling… Pretty impressive, hah!? I tried to accomplish something like that before our second child arrived, though baby Pea ended up being an angel (who said women are high-maintenance?) and unlike her brother devoted her infant days to snoozing.  So, my extreme food storage proved to be unnecessary.

However, with time I did appreciate all the stuff in the freezer. So, a new tradition was started.  Now we make extra and stow our favorites for the days, when there is no time to make a fresh dinner.

Here is one of those recipes.  All you need on the serving day is some bread or croutons!

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  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 cups chopped leaks, white and pale green parts only (about 3-4 leaks)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 30 oz whole peeled tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbs chopped fresh basil leaves or 2 t dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream (or half-and-half, or milk)

Yields about 9 cups of soup


Prepare the soup. In heavy pan, heat oil, leeks, celery, and garlic over medium-high heat; cook 8-10 min or until leaks are soft.  Add tomatoes, broth, wine, and lemon juice.  Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover; and simmer for 30 min.  Remove from heat; add basil, salt, and pepper.  Puree soup mixture in food processor or blender until smooth.

Make ahead. Freeze in gallon or quart zip lock bags, pressing out the air and laying flat.

Serve: if frozen, thaw; heat through over low heat, stirring occasionally; add cream and simmer about 10 min or until thickened.  Do not boil.  Garnish with basil.  Serve warm.


  1. Meenakshi says:

    Wow 60-odd frozen meals sounds a little extreme! But since my son doesn’t go to school yet and I work from home, I guess I do not know the pressures of balancing job-kids-school-kitchen. Your soup looks wonderful! White wine must have added a nice acidity :)

  2. dianeskitchentable says:

    Oh my, I can’t even imagine having (never mind making) that many meals ahead of time! That’s a marathon & belongs in the Guiness World Book of Records if you ask me. The bisque looks wonderful. You know basil is so easy to grow inside all year round (just moderate light & no cat to tip over the pots). I try to stagger the plantings so I’ll always have some on hand because I love basil.

  3. Ann Mah says:

    I love tomatoes and I love tomato soup! I haven’t gotten into the habit of freezing food, but I do usually make a big meal on Sunday so we have leftovers for at least one other meal during the week. It really helps!

  4. mixitupandmakeitnice says:

    Wow, 60-70 frozen meals! They must have a giant freezer… On a different note, that tomato bisque looks amazing – I can just imagine how gorgeous it must have smelt when you were cooking it. Oh, and how good it tastes! Katie x

  5. Profiteroles & Ponytails says:

    I could never manage to make that many frozen meals at the start of the year. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

    I’m with you — making big batches of meals and freezing the leftovers is key to maintaining sanity on weeknights. Your soup would be a great way to use up the last of my homegrown basil before I have to store my pots for the winter. Glad to have found your blog through Karista’s blogroll.

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