In catching up on my Smitten Kitchen, I came across a recipe for Roasted Eggplant Soup. At first, I wasn't that interested, but read through just for the hell of it... and then started drooling at the picture of the soup before being pureed. And that's when I knew I had to make it. Curiosity & drooling got the best of me.
You see, the original recipe is fairly simple: calls for roasting eggplant, tomatoes, onion & garlic. Simmer in broth and then blend all together to get a smooth, pureed soup. That has a weird, kinda unpleasant, light brown color to it. BUT! I thought all the roasted veggies HAD to be delicious, especially after spicing it up, so I gave it a go. But I kept the soup in chunky-vegetable form! Innovative! Genius! All of those things, yes... I know.
Before you go any further, can I just apologize for the pictures? The camera was being funky & I had to resort to the cellular phone. Sad world.
So, the general idea was to cube the eggplant, chop the onion, and roast. I skinned 1/2 of the eggplant (thinking I would give a quick immersion-blender to a portion of the soup to thicken it up), but left the rest with the skin to give more structure. The tomatoes were roasted whole, to preserve the juices, but then cubed once out of the oven.... making sure to get as much of the juices into the soup pot as possible!
And the result? Amazing. Totally delicious and soon to be in regular rotation. I get really excited for vegetarian soups- I feel they are a great way to lighten up but still have a comforting & filling meal.
Roasted Tomato & Eggplant Soup
1 yellow onion
6-8 garlic cloves
4c chicken stock
1/2c heavy cream
1Tbsp fresh thyme
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp red pepper flakes (I had to use a "Hot Shot" blend, which was less than ideal)
cheese (feta, goat, a sharp-hard cheese... whatevs!*)
Preheat oven to 400F
1. Peel 1/2 of the total eggplant. Cube all of the eggplant into 1/2" pieces. Halve the tomatoes. Dice (medium) the onion and peel garlic. Throw all onto baking sheets (keeping vegetables separate), and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Roast for 40min, but check every 15 or so to make sure they aren't burning (particularly the garlic!)
2. Allow vegetables to cool. Add chicken broth to a pot, along with thyme and 1/2 the vegetables (make sure to add the skinless 1/2 of eggplant.) Bring to simmer and give a few rounds with immersion blender.
3. Roughly cube the remaining tomatoes and add, with juices, to the pot. Add remaining eggplant, garlic and onion, as well.
4. Add heavy cream, cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle smoked paprika & chili powder, to taste.
5. Serve with cheese sprinkled on top and crusty bread (garlic bread, if you are like me!)
*The recipe called for goat cheese, but recommended feta... I thought I had feta. I was excited about feta. I was sadly mistaken. So we ended up using a sharp Swedish cheese called Prast/Prastost,** which worked fine. Next time definitely trying goat or feta, though!
**I am like a kid in a candy store at the Ikea Swedish grocery store, (and no, I do NOT mean the cafeteria)!!! I love trying the cheeses and jams... and highly recommend all. In terms of cheeses, Prast/Prastost and Herrgard/Herrgardost are very good, widely appealing cheeses. If you like sharp cheddar, you'd like these two. Vasterbotten is also an excellent cheese (the Swedish "Emperor of Cheeses"), and is more like a Parmesean Reggiano with it's sharp, nuttiness.