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
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)
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.