Saks Fifth Avenue Tomato Bisque

8 to 10 servings

3 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion
1/2 rib celery
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 (16-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (or 3 large fresh tomatoes, diced)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 tablespoon dried basil)
2 (16-ounce) cans tomato puree
1 (16-ounce) can beef stock
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter in a large stockpot. Dice onion and celery and add to pot. Saute until the onion is transparent.

Sprinkle flour over onions one tablespoon at a time, stirring in each one thoroughly with a large spoon until paste forms.

Add garlic, diced tomatoes and basil, and stir. Stir in tomato puree and beef stock slowly, then whipping cream. The soup should be a rose color. Add bay leaf and simmer on low for about an hour. Remove bay leaf before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper.