Tomato Bisque with Fried Cheese

Story by Natalie
Tomato Bisque with Fried Cheese
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Tomato Bisque with Fried Cheese

If I had to choose a final meal before dying (anyone else think about this stuff?) it would have to be tomato bisque with a grilled cheese sandwich or, even better, my recent discovery of fried cheese. For me, it just doesn’t get better than that.

Tomato Bisque with Fried Cheese

Even though I have a deep love for this meal, in the past I rarely made it at home, because for some reason I always thought tomato bisque was a recipe out of reach for me as a home cook. The best tomato bisque has a perfectly rich and creamy texture, with just a hint of spice and a touch of fresh basil for brightness. I had a few places around town that made it just right and I’d order it every chance I got and miss it in between times. But that just wasn’t cutting it, so I knew I’d need to buckle down and learn how to master this classic dish. And finally, with a little nudge from our friends at the Tillamook Creamery, I did just that.

This past year Holly and I have had the privilege of partnering with one of our favorite brands, Tillamook. Tillamook cheese has been a household staple for the both of us long before our partnership with the brand. Also, fun fact: my husband Scot spent his childhood in the town of Tillamook, helping milk the cows on its beautiful farms and catching moles for their farmers as a summer job. All that to say, we’re a Tillamook loving family through and through.

Just when I thought I couldn’t love the brand more, this week Holly and I were given a behind the scenes look at the incredible family of farmers who make up Tillamook. For those curious as to why we are fans for life, here is a little bit of info from behind the scenes:

  • Tillamook is a farmer-owned company. This means the farmers own the brand. Nearly 90 family farms make up what we know as the Tillamook County Creamery Association.
  • We were able to get a close-up and see this co-op of many small farms in action. The care taken of their cows is incredible. When I say these cows are loved, I mean it. High quality facilities and lush green acres give the cows the happy life they deserve and, thanks to some seriously high-tech farming equipment, they are able to give very detailed care to the cows as individuals vs. as a herd. If there is one thing we learned, it’s that happy cows and happy farmers means high quality dairy, which is exactly what you taste in Tillamook’s products.
  • Beyond the farms we toured the new Creamery to get an up-close look at the production of our favorite dairy products. If you’re local and have yet to visit Tillamook’s brand new Creamery, you really need to make it a priority. (Fun fact, more people visit the new facility each day than visit the Empire State building!) From watching the production of the product, to sampling all the cheeses (I love me some squeaky cheese curds) our inside look had our hearts even more in love with the brand than before.
  • Watch this video to learn more about the farmers of Tillamook.

After an entire day of touring farms, watching production, and getting excited (all over again) about a company that gives everything to have dairy done right, we celebrated by eating even more cheese. We got to dive into the full menu from Tillamook’s new cafe at the Creamery and after tasting fried oysters, bacon and beer mac and cheese and fried cheese curds, we were inspired to share a little of our delicious meal with our readers who may be too far to try it out for themselves. Enter our take on the tomato bisque that was served with both fried cheese curds and grilled cheese sandwiches at Tillamook...aka my favorite meal ever.

Tomato Bisque with Fried Cheese

First of all, what is the difference between soup and bisque?

Traditionally, a bisque means it’s base is made from a seafood stock. However, we refer to a bisque as anything creamy and pureed (as does most everyone else). In simple terms, a bisque is a fast way of saying this soup has cream, i.e….they’re just better.

Tomato Bisque with Fried Cheese

How do you make tomato bisque?

Unlike tomato soup you’d get from a can, tomato bisque should have a little texture. In order to accomplish this, we only puree it enough to make it slurpable, and not so much that it’s completely smooth, but this is a matter of preference. You are more than welcome to make your bisque completely smooth if that’s what floats your boat.

What goes into tomato bisque?

We didn’t get the exact recipe from Tillamook, but we’ve done our best to replicate it based on taste. With just a few humble ingredients, you’ll be on your way to bisque heaven.

  • Butter (of course – we used Tillamook Unsalted)
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Olive OIl
  • Chicken Broth
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Cream
  • Salt and pepper

Fried Cheese vs. Grilled Cheese

Naturally, grilled cheese is probably the much easier approach, but after sampling the fried cheese curds we were sold. Either works great as an accompaniment to this bisque, but fried cheese is really fun.

Tomato Bisque with Fried Cheese

So, how do you make fried cheese?

Using award-winning Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese (because you can’t buy their curds in stores, which is a major heartbreaker), we cut the cheese into one-inch cubes and dipped them in an egg wash, followed by seasoned bread crumbs. Next we dropped the prepared cubes a few at a time into prepared oil. We waited until they had just turned golden brown, about 3-5 minutes, and then transferred them to a paper towel-lined plate.

Be sure to have your soup prepared ahead of time so you can drop your hot fried cheese straight into your soup. Holy moly, it’s so good! Can you taste it?

Cold weather and rain are officially here to stay and I can’t think of anything more comforting than a bowl of creamy tomato bisque topped with fried cheese.

If you make this tomato bisque with fried cheese, we’d love to hear about it! Be sure to snap a photo, add it to your Instagram feed or stories and tag @themodernproper, and @tillamook and #themodernproper if you do. Also, feel free to leave a comment on the post and tell your friends where you discovered the recipe!

Tomato Bisque with Fried Cheese

This sponsored post is written by TMP on behalf of Tillamook Creamery. The opinions and text are all ours. Thank you for supporting the brands we love.

Tomato Bisque with Fried Cheese

Serves 4

Tomato Bisque Recipe

4 tbsp butter (Tillamook Unsalted)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
5-6 fresh basil leaves

Fried Cheese

1 lb block Tillamook Medium Yellow Cheddar
2 cup panko
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic

Method

Prep Time: 45 min
Cook Time: 45 min

  1. In a small bowl mix flour with salt, pepper and garlic. Add eggs to a second small bowl and finally add panko to a third small bowl.
  2. Start by prepping the fried cheese. Working with one square at a time dip the cheese into the egg mixture followed by the flour mixture, then back into the egg mixture and finally into the panko. Set cheese on a lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining cheese. Place in freezer and freeze for 30 minutes.
  3. While cheese is freezing, make the bisque.
  4. In a 5qt pot melt butter over medium heat. Add in carrots and onions and stir until onions are translucent. Add in tomatoes, olive oil, bay leaves, salt and pepper and chicken stock.
  5. Bring soup to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook for 30 minutes. Add in fresh basil and remove from heat.
  6. Transfer soup to a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender for great results.
  7. Return soup to pot and add in cream. Stir until cream is fully incorporated. Set over low heat until fried cheese is ready.
  8. In a large pot bring 1 quart of oil to 375°F. Remove cheese from freezer. Working in small batches gently drop prepared cheese into hot oil. Allow to cook for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oil and set on a paper lined plate. Continue with remaining cheese.
  9. Serve fried cheese with hot tomato soup or your favorite dipping sauce, ENJOY!