Today is National Cheese Curd Day! The moment I heard this, my heart skipped a beat as I remembered our visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factor in Oregon. Sure, it was interesting to see how cheese is made. But it was even better to have lunch in their cafeteria. If it contained cheese, you could get it. Everything from Grilled Cheese to Pizzas to big bowls of soup with delicious Cheese Curd.
Ever since our trip down the Oregon coast, and lunch at the Tillamook factory, I have been dreaming of Tomato Bisque with its surprise Cheese Curds. And I promised, I’d come up with my own spin on this awesome soup. While Tillamook’s Tomato Soup was more a traditional, creamy Bisque, I’ve notched mine up just a bit with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes. I just like the depth of flavor in fire-roasted vegetables. The cream and the curds just add even more depth of texture.
Still looking for more cheesy goodness? Serve this awesome soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. Just remember, whatever you make is only as good as the ingredients used. Real cheese, real creams, real butters will make a huge difference.
Cheese Curd Tomato Bisque
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
1 medium Carrot, finely chopped
1 Celery Rib, finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons Butter, divided
3 tablespoons Flour
4 cups Chicken Stock
3 (14.5 oz) cans diced Fire-Roasted Tomatoes, drained
3 tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 teaspoons Sugar
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
1 cup Cheese Curds, optional
Peel and finely chop the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the chopped vegetables, cover and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir over low heat for 1 minute, or until the flour is fully incorporated.
Drain the roasted tomatoes well and set aside.
Add the chicken stock, roasted tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar and bring to a boil.
Cover partially and cook the soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 15 minutes.
Puree the bisque using an immersion blender or transfer to a blender to puree in batches. Return the puree to the saucepan, add the heavy cream and cook until the soup is just heated through. Season the soup with salt and white pepper and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
Place the cheese curds into the bottom of large mugs or soup bowls. Ladle the soup over the curds and serve.