Roasted Eggplant Soup

Like most everyone in Austin, my allergies are terrible this time of year.  This comforting soup always makes me feel better when I’m sniffly, plus the recipe is easy to adapt according to the vegetables I have on hand.  I’ve experimented by adding some combination of potatoes, apples, leeks, carrots, or mushrooms to this basic recipe with good results. Whatever variety of produce I use, the basic ratio of ingredients remains about 1 cup of liquid for each 1 cup of roasted veggies.

The fall allergy season is going to last at least another month, and we’ll need some more comforting recipes to get through it. What’s your favorite soup when you’re feeling under the weather?

Roasted Eggplant Soup
2 small eggplants, quartered
3 tomatoes, quartered
1 bulb garlic (about 9 cloves), top cut off
1/2 white onion, halved
Olive Oil
1/2  cup hard apple cider or white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (skip it if you’re vegan– the soup’s great without it)

Preheat oven to 400°F and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Place eggplant, onion, tomatoes, and garlic flesh side up on the cookie sheet and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.  Roast until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.

Allow vegetables to cool until they are safe to handle.  Scoop eggplant flesh from skin into a medium heavy saucepan. Discard skin. Squeeze garlic cloves from skin into saucepan. Add tomatoes and onion to saucepan, plus parsley, cider, lemon juice and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Cool slightly.

Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth.  Return soup to saucepan and add cream, if desired. Heat through.  Garnish with fresh parsley and cracked pepper.  Serve with a hearty grain like these whole wheat rosemary rolls.

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