Friday, January 6, 2012

Roasted Eggplant Soup

I hadn't realized how long it had been since I have had a chance to blog! Working as an event planner the holidays are always the busiest time of year and it left me with no time to cook, photograph and post recipes. Now is the slow time in the office so I made a batch of homemade soup to bring in and share with the girls. As you can imagine a group of people paid to know the latest and greatest in the food industry as well as the chefs who create the food can be a really tough crowd! This soup based the taste and trust me they are not too polite to tell me exactly what is wrong with something. Ever. 
Increasingly over the last few years I have become more and more concerned with eating compassionately and I am incorporating more and more vegetarian meals into my diet. It can be done and it can be delicious. I love the creativity of vegetarian cooking. You have to work harder but the results can be so rewarding. This soup is rich, creamy and comforting with out the use of any any actual cream or butter. What could be better for you heart and your waistline? I hope you enjoy it. 

Adapted from Sea Salt with Food

Roasted Eggplant Soup
2 Medium Eggplant
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion, diced
4 Cloves Garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 Large Potato, peeled and chopped (Choose a variety with a high start content as this lends part of the creamy texture to the soup)
2 (28 oz) Cans No Salt Added Organic Diced Tomatoes (Use whatever you have on hand. I had whole tomatoes and I just crushed them by hand before I put them in. It really doesn't matter much)
4 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Broth 
2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 450F.
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with cumin and sea salt. Brush baking tray with olive oil. Roast cut side down until soft. 30-40 minutes depending on size. When they are very soft they are done. Scrape soft flesh into a bowl and discard skins.

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook stirring occasionally until opaque but not brown. Increase the heat to medium-high heat and add eggplant, potato, tomatoes, coriander, cumin and paprika. Saute for a few minutes and then add stock. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce a simmer. You can scorch this soup VERY easily so keep an eye on this step. Make sure it is truly at a low simmer for an additional 40-45 minutes. This will all depend on how large you dice the potato so I recommend making sure the pieces are small. When the potatoes are done turn off the heat and let cool until just warm.

To puree you have 2 options. I happen to have a handheld immersion blender. (This blender on a stick.) As most people do not have those you can use a standard blender. Just work in batches to not overflow the blender. You decide if you want to leave it a bit chunky or if you want it to be entirely smooth. There was a toss up in the office which people preferred. I like a few chunks in my soup, some do not. One girl even thought it would be fantastic on pasta and I have to say it was thick enough! You could certainly try it. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. 
To serve reheat to hot over low heat and serve with your favorite crusty bread or a side salad. Enjoy!

Let me know if you try this! I love to hear what people think.