Even though the temperatures are still in the eighties, fall is rapidly approaching and it’s time to say goodbye to our summer vegetables. What better way to use them now and enjoy them later than in an end of summer eggplant soup. Another good reason to have soup on hand was the stomach virus that Joe and I suffered through last week. Nothing tastes better when you are on the road to recovery is a nutritious soothing soup.
I am still picking eggplants, peppers and tomatoes, but not in the same quantities as a few weeks ago. The days are getting shorter and even though the days are warm, the nights are definitely cooler. After an afternoon pick yesterday I came back with quite a nice variety of eggplants, several peppers and a few tomatoes. This is the type of recipe you could make differently every time, depending on what is still there for the picking. I wanted to make this as easy as possible so I decided to roast the vegetable first before combining them in a soup. Carrying over on the easy concept, I lined the baking trays with parchment to make clean up a snap. I cut the eggplants in half and lightly brushed the cut edge with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. On the second large baking sheet I added several tomatoes, peppers, an onion and some unpeeled garlic cloves, brushed everything with olive oil, and sprinkled on kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
I decided on a 375°F oven, the temperature we use when oven roasting vegetables. I checked the tray with the tomatoes, peppers, garlic and onion first, they were done in about 12-15 minutes, getting a nice toasty brown. The eggplants took a little longer, they are done when the skins start to collapse. Once cooled, it’s easy to separate the flesh from the skin. Squeeze the garlic from the skins and roughly chop the onion. I pureed the vegetables in the food processor in batches. Because some of my eggplants were seedy I put the puree through a food mill with a medium disc. Pour the finished puree into a stockpot. I added ground cumin, coriander, salt, freshly ground black pepper and a touch of cayenne. Add chicken or vegetable stock to thin out the consistency. Make some to enjoy now and freeze some for the cold winter months.
End of Summer Eggplant Soup
- 3 ½lb eggplant, any type, halved lengthwise
- 2 red or yellow bell peppers, or any combination, halved and cored
- 3-4 tomatoes, halved and cored
- 1 small onion peeled and halved
- 4 garlic cloves
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly
- ½t ground cumin
- ½t ground coriander
- 3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- Basil leaves as garnish
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Line two large baking pans with parchment paper. Brush cut side of eggplant with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and arrange cut side down in one layer on baking sheet. On the second sheet, arrange tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, and onions, cut side down, in a single layer. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake vegetables until eggplant and bell peppers have a slight char on their skins. Check at 15 minutes, as garlic may need to come out earlier so that it doesn’t burn. Let cool until ready to handle. Remove skins as much as possible.
- Working in batches, pulse vegetables in a food processor, you can either roughly chop or take them down to a puree. If necessary, put the mix through a food mill. Transfer vegetables to a large stockpot and add broth and spices. Cook for 15-20 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Serve garnished with basil leaves