Thursday, October 10, 2013

Roasted Eggplant Soup

Roasted eggplant soup with feta

When I started living alone, I promised myself that I wouldn't subsist solely on omelets and veggie pasta dishes. For the most part, I've kept that promise. But lately I've been too busy and rushed to cook for myself, and that cannot go on. Last weekend, I harvested two surprise eggplants and decided to make a soup from them right then and there. I've had this recipe for a while, but had never tried it because of the long cooking time. But since it was Sunday, I could let the ingredients roast and simmer while I did other things. I've been enjoying the delicious results all week.

Roasted Eggplant Soup
From Smitten Kitchen. Serves 4.

3 medium tomatoes, halved
1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise
1 small onion, halved
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
¾ cup crumbled goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange tomatoes, eggplant, onion and garlic on a large baking sheet. Brush or drizzle vegetables with oil, then roast them for 20 minutes, pausing only to remove the garlic cloves. Return the pans to the oven for another 25 minutes, until the remaining vegetables are tender and brown in spots. (Because I only had minced garlic, I did this in reverse, adding the garlic to the baking sheet during the last 20 minutes of roasting.)

2. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Scoop the eggplant out of its skin into a heavy, large saucepan or soup pot. Add the rest of the vegetables, plus the thyme and the chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until onion is very tender, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly.

3. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until it is as smooth as you’d like it to be. Or, if you have an immersion blender, you can do this in the pot. Back in the pot, add the cream (if using - I didn't have any) and bring the soup back to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in four bowls, sprinkled with goat cheese.

I followed two PS suggestions from the original recipe: adding cumin, and using feta instead of goat cheese (since feta was what I had on hand). Both ingredients added a nice, subtle kick!

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