I’m a big fan of tomato soup, like my Simple Tomato Soup (which can be made in the Instant Pot or Not) in moderation, from time to time. It’s one of those things I grew up with and when I crave it, there’s nothing better. Until now. Yup, now there’s this Tomato Zucchini Bisque. I never thought, in a zillion years, that adding a zucchini (admittedly a vegetable I try to like but am not wild crazy about) would make take one of my favorite childhood comfort foods and elevate into something so delicious.
If you’re from the Midwest, you might be familiar with Minerva’s. There’s one not far from my hometown in Iowa and there’s one not too far from my folk’s in South Dakota. Although they’ve expanded into several locations over the years, and have several spin-offs, don’t mistake this for your average chain – it is THE place to wine and dine someone! I was lucky enough to go there for my birthday dinner last month.
About Tomato Zucchini Bisque:
I gotta say the steaks are superb, what stole the show was their Tomato Zucchini Soup (or bisque) as they call it. And to think of all the offerings on their salad bar, I wouldn’t even have tried it, except for everyone at the table raved about and insisted I go back and get myself a cup. I literally couldn’t get that soup off my mind. So if you love tomato soup, give this a shot, and if you already love tomato zucchini soup, this is a must try!
Now, this isn’t an exact copycat of Minerva’s soup. While I’m usually pretty good at nailing flavors, something is eluding me. Maybe someone who works at Minerva’s might chime in! So this time, I’m content to just be pretty darned close and know this soup is fabulous as is and inspired by the famed Minerva’s.
Most soups along this line use basil and garlic for flavoring, but I’m going with tarragon (it’s not used enough) just like I did with my classic Simple Tomato Soup, pictured below, and just a teensy tiny pinch of clove. Not too much; you want the vaguest hint of sumpin’ sumpin’, not enough for it to stand out as a flavor on its own. Finish what a touch of cream. Serve with shards of Parmesan and crackers. croutons, or your fanciest grilled cheese.
Making Tomato Zucchini Bisque:
Super fast and easy, this is a great back-pocket recipe to have. It’s also a fantastic way to sneak a few extra vegetables into what looks like pretty much a standard tomato soup.
You’re going to need to saute the vegetables first, just to get them softened, then in goes the garlic to cook just for a minute. Then it’s just basically a matter of dumping everything but the cream into the soup and simmering to blend the flavors. And speaking of blending, here’s where you’ll want to blend everything up, either using a stick blender or by tossing it all (you might need to work in batches) into your blender.
Heat the soup back up if you’ve used the blender and if it needs it, but just before serving, turn the heat down and when it is no longer simmering, add the cream, just a little, about a quarter of a cup or a little more if you’d like. Honestly, this is excellent with no cream, too. After the cream is added, don’t simmer or boil this soup.
I like to have just a little extra stock on hand, just in case I think the soup is a bit dense; everyone has their own personal taste on that, so the recipe, with 1 cup of stock is a little conservative. It’s easier to add more than to take away.
Saving Money on Tomato Zucchini Bisque:
As far as the tomatoes, simple pantry items are always best bought when they’re on sale and used as needed as opposed to being bought when you need them. Anything that stores pretty much forever is a great item to buy using this strategy, maybe with coupons if you use them.
It’s only in more recent times that we habitually started using chicken stock in so many soups and other foods, simply because we’re looking for more flavor. This could be made with water as opposed to stock. As far as the cream, shop well for it. It’s generally on sale around any holiday and keeps for weeks with its high-fat content; if you use it regularly, pick it up at a low. Aldi and your buyer’s clubs have fabulous prices but it’s likely you’ll need to buy in a quart container from Costco or Sam’s.
Zucchini is definitely going to be at their best price late summer when they come into season and probably best bought at the farmer’s market, or grown or gotten from friends who are gardeners. I think it is literally impossible not to grow too much zucchini!Print
Tomato Zucchini Bisque
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Soups
- Cuisine: American
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 zucchini, unpeeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 (14-ounce) cans whole tomatoes or 1 1/2 (29–30 ounce) cans
- 1 1/4 cup stock plus a little extra to thin, if desired
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon or basil (1 tablespoon if fresh)
- pinch of ground clove
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup cream
In large saucepan, saute the onion and zucchini in the oil until the onion is translucent, about five to six minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
Add the tomatoes along with any juices, crushing the tomatoes, then add the stock, salt, pepper, and honey or maple syrup, thyme and the pinch of clove. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring now and then, until vegetables are tender.
Remove soup to a blender, in batches, and process until smooth. Return to a clean pan. Reheat over low heat until the soup returns to a bare simmer. Reduce heat and when the soup has stopped simmering, stir in the heavy cream. Add a pinch of clove, taste and adjust seasonings.
- Do not boil soup after the cream is added.
- Take care in blending hot liquids; fill blender only halfway, loosen the top stopper and hold lid down with a towel for protection.
Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Chicken Stock, Cream, Minervas, Soup, tomato soup, Tomatoes, Zucchini
You know I’ll be bringing this to our Throwback Thursday #25 Link Party, hosted by Quinn of Dad What’s for Dinner, Meaghan of 4 Sons are Us, Alli of Tornadough, and Moi! That’s right – me!
Click over to our Throwback Thursday post for links to their blogs and social media, rules and more info or just click on the blue leapfrog, below, to view all the Throwback Thursday Posts or enter your own!