Is Bisque Just Another Soup? Not This Sweet Potato Bourbon Version!

Is a bisque just a loose interpretation of soup described with a fancy name? Is it a cousin to traditional soups or a chowder from another mother? Inquiring minds want to know, well at least mine did, “What qualifies a bisque to be called a bisque?”

A quick google search revealed this about bisques and chowders, “Bisques and chowders are two types of thick soup; bisque is generally smooth while chowder is chunky. Both have a long history with seafood. The word chowder comes from the French word for the cauldron in which fishermen made their stew, but both words are used often used to describe non-seafood dishes as well.” (from 

Wikipedia says, “Bisque is a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin, classically based on a strained broth of crustaceans. It can be made from lobster, langoustine, crab, shrimp, or crayfish… Bisque is a method of extracting flavor from imperfect crustaceans not good enough to send to market. In an authentic bisque, the shells are ground to a fine paste and added to thicken the soup.”

Okay, let’s stop right here. So how did they (whoever “they” are) come up with the title, “Sweet Potato Bisque” if it doesn’t contain any crustaceans (and thank goodness it doesn’t!)? Who would want ground up fish shells in their soup (no offense Julia Child)?

I continued my google search until I found this, “Modern usage of the word “bisque” is for nearly any pureed, or especially creamy soup. …Thus, the only difference between a bisque and soup in modern usage is whether it has cream.”

Okay, I can accept that. Whew, we’ll let the French fishermen keep their version of bisque and Julia Child keep her ground up shells and move on with our version of this Sweet Potato Bourbon Bisque. 

I make homemade vegetable bouillon – that’s the blob you see in the soup and reconstitute it in the soup. This recipe uses two cups of vegetable broth, so I used two bouillons with two cups of water. However, you can use boxed or canned vegetable broth instead. 

This bisque retains its flavor and is great the next day or two! Believe it or not, it has a mild enough flavor to pair with about any salad or sandwich for lunch and makes a great pre-dinner cup of soup no matter what the main dish is. 

Sweet Potato Bourbon Bisque

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sweet vidalia onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red bell pepper, minced
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 medium)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (or 2 cubes vegetable bouillon reconstituted with 2 cups water)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (vegetarian version: 1 cup water)
  • 1/2 cup half and half


  1. Heat a cast iron pot (or large pot) over medium heat and add olive oil and butter. Add onions, peppers and a pinch of salt. Stir and cook until softened (about 5 minutes) Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Increase heat and add bourbon to the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add sweet potatoes, vegetable and chicken stocks to the pot. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft.
  3. Remove ingredients from the pot and put in blender to blend or puree until smooth and creamy.
  4. Transfer pureed ingredients back to the pot and continue cooking on low heat, adding half and half and mixing well into bisque. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving  
Calories 263
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16.3g 21%
Saturated Fat 6.8g 34%
Cholesterol 26mg 9%
Sodium 298mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 3.2g 11%
Total Sugars 6.3g  
Protein 2.9g

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