Roast Eggplant & Tomato Soup

Yes, yes, it’s been a fall of soups – chickpea-tomato-bread, pumpkin rarebit, apple soup with maple-thyme drizzle, beet-carrot-ginger.  But I’m just getting started.  This girl doesn’t get sick of soup.  I ate 6 bowls back-to-back at Soupstock and only stopped because my fullness was slowing me down.  Soups are one of my favourite things – they heat you up on a blustery day; they’re a sneaky, cozy way to eat a ton of vegetables at once; and thanks to do-it-yourself toppings, they’re easy to serve to a gluten- or lactose-intolerant crowd without going without yourself.

For example: this week’s roasted eggplant and tomato soup, aka Dave’s favourite thing that I make.  Not only is it hearty and packed with flavour, but it sneaks in onions, garlic, thyme, kale and soymilk, too (you’re welcome, body).  I topped it with pumpernickel croutons and goat cheese, because it sounded like a pretty delicious combo deal.  You know how I love to prove myself right.

Notes: This soup takes well to adaptation.  Swap dried thyme for fresh thyme, or try a different herb you have on hand, or skip it all together.  Opt out of the milk/soymilk/cream.  Skip the kale, or use another type of greens – spinach, chard, even chopped or shredded zucchini.  If you don’t have tomatoes to roast, try adding a can of them when the soup is simmering instead, and use a little less stock.  The big essentials come from the roasting and the core ingredients: eggplant, tomato, garlic, onion.  Simple and delicious.

Roast Eggplant & Tomato Soup

adapted from smitten kitchen

Ingredients

1 large eggplant or two small ones, sliced in half lengthwise
1 onion, peeled & quartered
3 large cloves of garlic, skins left on
2-3 tomatoes, quartered
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp dried thyme
3-4 cups chicken stock
1-2 cups kale, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup milk, cream or soymilk (optional)
goat cheese (optional)
croutons (optional)

—————————————————————–

1.  On a baking tray lined with parchment paper, arrange the eggplant (cut-side up), onion quarters, garlic cloves, and tomato quarters.  Drizzle olive oil over top, sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper, and roast a 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Remove the garlic cloves and set aside; they should be golden-brown.  Return the baking tray to the oven and roast for an additional 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is cooked through.

2.  Peel roasted garlic and place it in a soup pot; add remaining roasted vegetables.  Cover with stock, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat, simmering for 20-30 minutes.  If you’re using kale, add it after 20 minutes and continue cooking for an additional 5-10 minutes.

3.  Remove the soup from heat and puree until smooth.  If desired, stir in milk/cream/soymilk and reheat to desired temperature before serving.  Top with croutons, goat cheese, both or neither.

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