Tuesday, May 10, 2011

HUSBAND vs WIFE: Cleo Coyle asks, "Is it a Sauce or a Soup?"

So I was cleaning out the refrigerator—an interesting exercise in culinary archeology—and I mentioned to my husband, Marc, that I’d found six whole tomatoes in the crisper, and they were in no shape for a salad or garnish. "I hate to throw them out, so if you want to do something with them, be my guest..."

Cleo ponders a solution to her
overripe tomatoes.
(BTW, these weren't them.)
An hour later, sitting at my laptop, my concentration was broken by an enticing scent. I followed the aromatic breadcrumbs to find my six-foot husband bent over a steaming pot. "It’s a sauce but it’s pretty loose," he said. "I was about to thicken it with a can of tomato paste."

I tasted it and shook my head. "You don’t need tomato paste because you’ve made an amazing tomato soup here, not a sauce." Then he tasted it and shook his head. "It’s not soup yet, but it could be." I agreed. "Especially if you cream it!"

Another half hour ticked by. When I sampled the soup again, it tasted even better.


Cleo Coyle, who says "tomato"
and "tom-ah-to," writes The
Coffeehouse Mysteries
in collaboration with her
husband, Marc

"I think it’s more of a chowder or a stew than a soup," my husband now insisted. "Whatever you want to call it, the stuff is great,” I replied. And the best part of this story is that you, dear reader, do not have to take my word for it. You can try the recipe for yourself. . . .

Cleo Coyle's
Bacon and
Tomato Bisque

Makes about 6 servings

To download a free PDF of
this recipe that you can print,
save, or share, click here.


5 slices bacon, chopped
¼ pound ground sausage (we use Jimmy Dean Original)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
2 yellow onions, diced
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
1 tablespoon oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red peppers
6 large tomatoes, cleaned and chopped
1 cup chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
1 cup water
¼ cup heavy cream

STEP 1 - PRIME THE POT: Sauté the bacon in a five quart pot. When the bacon is browned, add the sausage and break it up. When the pork is browned add salt, the ground black pepper, and the garlic cloves (whole). Cook until the outside of the garlic begins to look clear, about 3 to 5 minutes.

STEP 2 - ADD THE VEGETABLES: Stir in the diced onions and carrots, and the chopped celery. Cook over medium heat until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

STEP 3 - SPICE PLUS TOMATOES: Add the oregano and crushed red pepper, stir well and cook for another minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir the pot. Finally add the stock and the water. Stir as the ingredients come to a boil. Cover loosely and simmer over a low heat for about thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.

STEP 4 - CREAM IT: For added richness, add heavy cream (or half-and-half) after thirty minutes and simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes. (To cut back on the fat and calories, milk will work, too.)

Serve hot with crackers or crusty bread and...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To get more of my recipes, win free coffee,
or find out more about my books, visit me
 at my *virtual* coffeehouse:


Click on the book covers above
to learn more about Cleo's culinary mysteries.


  1. Bacon! And it's definitely a soup...and a healthy one, at that. I can't wait to try this one, Cleo! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. :)

  2. What a great husband! Love the culinary duo creating a soup. Looks wonderful, Cleo!

    ~ Krista

  3. Do any of you Mystery Chefs realize that you're well on your way to producing a viable and marketable COOK BOOK? I've copied and saved a few of your recipes over the last year but all of you together have a great book on your hands. LOL

  4. What a great recipe this will be made. I say a soup as well :). It looks great and I know it will taste great as well.

    I agree with NoraA, you gals need to do a cook book. It would be a best seller!

  5. How about a bisque???

    From Wikipedia - "creamy soups made from roasted and puréed (Or finely diced) vegetables are sometimes called bisques."

    And a book is a great idea!!!

  6. I'm with Dave - it's a bisque!

    I love the way you and Marc work together - cooking, writing, photographing the cooking, digging out from snow, everything you do together seems full of life and love and joy!

    Another vote here for a Mystery Lover's Kitchen cookbook, too.

  7. This is wonderful, Cleo! I love these happy surprises! Thank Marc for us!

  8. Thanks to everyone for these wonderful comments! Marc and I just finished bowls of our *bisque* for lunch! :)

    I'll be back later today with more replies to you all.

    Until then...
    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  9. Roses are red (ok, it's pink but stay with me..),violets are blue (they are actually purple but again...)this looks like soup but bisque sounds so good!!!!!
    I'm no poet...and I do know it...but gosh I love cream of past their salad prime tomato soup!!! This makes me want to look for tomatoes on the "please buy me" rack tomorrow! The addition of bacon makes it a BLT in a bowl and that it "just right" for me!!!
    Thanks to you both ;-)

  10. Cleo, what a fabulous recipe. I adore bisque! Can't wait to make this.


  11. look absolutely delicious! gloria