Tomato Bisque for 12


Once upon a time, what feels like a bazillion years ago, I interviewed for a job at Taunton Press, publishers of Fine Cooking. But the job wasn’t for that fabulous magazine, it was for another of their great enthusiast titles – Fine Woodworking.

I’ll pause for a second while those that know me personally snicker a bit. It’s okay. I totally understand.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Fine Woodworking is a wonderful magazine for woodworking enthusiasts. But I am not one of them. I walked into the interview knowing very little about woodworking. Fortunately, I was plenty qualified for the position, which was working in editorial/web development — so they could look past the fact that “dove-tailed corners” was about the only woodworking phrase I could think of.

In the end, it came down to me and one other applicant and I didn’t get the job. That was okay too. I ended up working at an awesome children’s publisher instead. Ironically, I was later interviewed for a grad school project on blogging by the woman who beat me out for the job.

Anyway, I digress. While interviewing for Fine Woodworking, I fell head over heels in love with Fine Cooking. I had seen the magazine before and enjoyed it, but that was when I really embraced the title and its amazing recipes. From homemade tortillas to fabulous cookies, they’ve never disappointed me. (And I harbor a not-so-secret dream of working there some day. Just sayin’.)


So, when I saw the recipe for Tomato Bisque in their Soups & Sandwiches special issue, I knew I would love it. Moreover, I knew it would be perfect for the big Sunday family dinner that I hosted this week. I couldn’t have been more right … everyone adored the soup, and the leftovers made a fabulous lunch yesterday. And when I was digging up the links for this post, I discovered that Abby Dodge, who actually founded the Fine Cooking test kitchen, wrote the recipe. I’ve admired her work for a long time, as someone to look up to in the food writing and recipe development field.


_MG_3158 The Tomato Bisque starts with caramelized onions — the original recipe calls for a small white onion, but I used a large Vidalia one, since I turned the soup for two into soup for 12 and wanted the inherent sweetness of the Vidalia. Paige, of course, was quick to mosey up with her little pink stool to watch the progress as I made the soup.

Anyway, once the onions are caramelized, you add the thyme and garlic and stir it for just about a minute. Then the remainder of the ingredients, except for the cream are added. It boils, reduces and then you finally mix in the cream and serve.

All in all, it was really easy to make too. The recipe instructs to make cheese toasts with it. But I decided to serve this with my Gorgonzola Bison Sliders, and that was an awesome combination.

Try this Tomato Bisque. It’s amazing.

What’s your favorite cooking magazine?

Tomato Bisque for 12
serves 12, plus leftovers
adapted very slightly from Fine Cooking

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
a handful of fresh thyme sprigs, tied together with kitchen twine
5 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
6 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
a scant cup of honey
sea salt and ground black pepper
1 2/3 cups heavy cream (whipping cream is fine too)

Heat the oil in a deep stockpot over medium heat. You will need a really large pot for this. It makes a lot of soup.

Add the onions to the pot and saute for 10 minutes or so, until the edges begin to brown lightly. Add the garlic and thyme, stirring for one minute until fragrant.

Pour in the crushed tomatoes, chicken broth or stock, honey, salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20-30 minutes, until slightly reduced.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cream.

Serve immediately.


  1. Deb says

    I, too, am a fan of Fine Cooking, and have applied for a job there (unsuccessfully). When you finally get job there, Sarah, please hire me. ; ) I also like Food & Wine if for no other reason than Grace Parisi. Her recipes are always just right. I have become disillusioned with Bon Appetit. Maybe it has changed since the demise of Gourmet, I don’t know. But lately, absolutely none of their recipes appeal to me. OK, I admit, I am going to try their Honey Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Gremolata this week…

  2. says

    When you write about working at fine woodworking, I just keep imagining the first episode of Ugly Betty where she interviews at a fashion magazine and knows nothing about fashion.

  3. says

    I couldn’t agree with you more about Fine Cooking. I am in absolute love with everything they do. I can’t say enough good about them. I find myself going back to there magazines over and over again to find new and interesting ideas. I just picked up the Soup and Sandwich issue and I can’t wait to work my way through it.

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