Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

This was a recipe from Bon Appetit that I found on epicurious.com and adjusted a bit for the ingredients on hand and my particular tastes. It is very very easy to make, and has a lot of flavor, without being too heavy. The flavor is a little bland though, so I like to spice it up with some pesto and some goat cheese. In the picture here, when I served it at dinner, I used a crumpet mold to put a ring of rice in the middle of the bowl, but that made the dish a litle too starchy, and doing it over again, I would leave out the rice.

My Rating: 7

4 Roma tomatoes, halved
1 medium eggplant, halved lengthwise
1 large onion, halved
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
4 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place tomatoes, eggplant, onion and garlic in a baking dish and brush them with oil. The oil helps prevent their outer layer from burning as it dries out. Don’t neglect to do this, or you may end up with a “blackened” taste. Roast until vegetables are tender and brown in spots, about 45 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and use a spoon to scoop the eggplant flesh from skin into heavy large saucepan (I wouldn’t use nonstick for this, since we’re going to be blending it later, with a metal headed immersion blender). Throw away the skin. Add the rest of the vegetables as well as the spices and the chicken broth. Bring it up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes.

The soup is now ready to blend. This is most easily accomplished with a hand blender, or stick blender, or immersion blender, or whatever you’d like to call it. It’s important that it have a metal head if you’re sticking it in hot liquid. You can blend the sould very quickly and evenly with one of these. If not, work in batches and ladle it into the blender. As you blend it, the hot liquid will splash up, so it’s a good idea to cover the lid of the blender with a dish towel. It’s going to get messy this way (the main reason I prefer a stick blender. Also, I like gadgets).

The soup is ready. Ladle it into bowls and sprinkly a bit of pesto and goat cheese in the center of the bowls. Enjoy.

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