This delicate blend of vegetable flavors is a delightful surprise -- and easy to prepare. If fresh tomatoes are used, skin them and cook briefly to soften.
1 large onion, diced
5 or 6 ribs celery with leaves, diced
2 cups fresh mushrooms, diced
2 green peppers, diced
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup cooking sherry
2 quarts fresh or canned tomatoes, crushed
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups heavy cream
3 cups milk
Salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, and basil to taste
In a large pot, simmer onion, celery, mushrooms, and peppers in 2 tablespoons butter and sherry until tender. Stir in tomatoes and baking soda. (The soda will prevent the cream from "wheying," or curdling.) Add cream, milk, remaining 1/4 cup butter, and seasonings, and cook over low heat (do not boil) for 30 minutes. Serve very hot. The bisque can be held over a pan of boiling water if you aren't able to watch it.