Monday, September 5, 2011

Recipe 38: Roasted Eggplant Soup

It became abundantly clear to me in, uh...March, that it was unlikely that I'd be able to complete the Le Creuset 52 Challenge this year, especially considering I was going away for the entire summer.  I definitely couldn't bring it to Chile with me; seeing as part of my apartment intruder-attack plan includes flinging Blue at said apartment-intruders head, I'm pretty sure it counts as a weapon of mass destruction (especially if you are a vegetable inside it, badoom ching! It's a good thing I make myself snicker...)  As per, I'm off on a tangent, so let us return to our regularly scheduled programming:  my new plan is to eventually get to the 52 recipes mark, as originally planned.  It may just take two calendar years though.  But we'll get there!  

BB: Before Blending
In other news, I've been sharing a farm share with the biggest little soccer fans this side of the Charles, the chef and publicity guy behind the fabulous Asphalt Kitchen.  Except since I wasn't here, they have been eating drowning in my half of the share for most of the summer.  Bean stopped by my first day back in town with a rather large shopping bag quite literally bursting with veggies.  It's a little overwhelming.  Luckily, the bountiful crop of veggies this time of year have forced me to crack open the cookbooks and start making the recipes I've been earmarking.  This week I invited the Asphalt Kitchen over to make Smitten Kitchen's Roasted Eggplant Soup.  We more or less followed the recipe, although I added some cayenne, cumin, and corriander to it (as suggested), and did have to substitute rosemary for thyme because I thought I had some and didn't.  Oops. 

AB: After blending
Everyone loved this soup.  Everyone but me.  Don't get me wrong, I really, really, really liked it.  I just found it incredibly bright, as though it needs something to bring it a little more down to earth.  Next time I make it (and I will, it is incredibly easy and uses up sooooo many of my farmshare veggies), I plan on trying some of the suggestions in the comments by either adding tahini or paprika.  Did anyone who has tried this recipe or some variant find the same? How do you do it differently?  Suggestions on how to make it more earthy, por favor!

Roasted Eggplant Soup
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, where it was adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 4
Three kinds of cheese, two kinds of tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, green onions, and onions, all from Farmer Dave's farm, are visible in this one picture !
  • 3 slicing tomatoes, halved (medium/largeish; basically, late summer size)
  • 1-2 lbs eggplant, halved
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary (I suggest going for the originally suggested spice, thyme)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Heavy cream (I let people add their own to their own bowls)
  • Goat cheese (Again, I let people dress their own soup; have a log handy if your friends are cheeselvrs too)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  
  2. Place your halved veggies and garlic face up on your cooking sheets; drizzle them with a healthy dose of olive oil.  After 20 minutes, remove the garlic so it doesn't burn (it will, don't be a hero).  After about 25-30 more minutes, when your veggies are very squishy and brown in spots, take them out.  
  3. Let them cool for a few minutes so you don't scald yourself, and then scoop the flesh out of the eggplant (if anyone just throws the whole thing in with the skin, how does it turn out?) and add it and the remaining veg and garlic to your dutch oven. 
  4. Add the spices and the vegetable stock and bring the pot to a boil before reducing it to a simmer for about 45 minutes, or until your onion gets wicked squishy. 
  5. Using an immersion blender (or stand blender, in batches), puree the soup until it is smooth.  
  6. Serve hot to your hungry farm children, letting them add cream and chevre to their hearts content. 
We served this with Cheddar-Green Onion muffins (except not really...we basically used twice the green onions because we had a million, added way more cheese than suggested, added a healthy dash of cayenne, upped the cornmeal to a half cup and downed the flower to a cup and a half, and then only made 9 so they were giant - thusly, not at all the same, so they were fantastic) and with Zucchini Caprese (yes, we love cheese, and also an abundance of zucchini - this is banging).  I think it would go well with a flatbread OR, with Swiss Chard Spanakopita, a recipe which had no original plans to associate with Le Creuset.  Stay tuned!

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