You may be wondering at the plethora of eggplant-featuring posts lately. Well, the story is that I went to the market a bit over a week ago, intending to buy just one wee kilo of eggplants. But I ended up at a stall manned by a boy far too young to be working (as is the case too often in this part of the world), and he very enthusiastically proclaimed that, for the equivalent of about $1.30, he would sell me 5 kilos of eggplant. That is 11 pounds, for those of you stuck in America’s silly measurement system. It takes a long time and a lot of dishes for two people to eat 11 pounds of eggplant! But partly out of pity and partly because I do really like eggplant, I went ahead and bought it, carrying home a black plastic bag with nearly a dozen eggplants inside.
We have finally finished them off, and I must admit I am not likely to buy another eggplant for a week or two. But when I do, this soup will be very high on my list of considerations. The idea of an eggplant soup had never crossed my mind until I read about it on Smitten Kitchen. The original recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit, can be found there, along with Deb’s humorous account of trying to elicit taste memories from her mother. Following her spice dilemma, I decided to take the basic idea and Middle Eastern-ize the recipe a bit. I was very, very pleased with the final product, and even more pleased when Hungry Husband, who is generally ambivalent when it comes to soup, declared it very tasty.
ROASTED EGGPLANT SOUP
- 3 medium tomatoes, halved
- Eggplant totally about 1 ½ pounds, halved
- 1 medium onion, halved
- Olive oil
- 10 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. coriander
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 ½ tsp. cumin
- 4 cups chicken broth
- ¼ c. plain yoghurt
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ c. crumbled feta, to garnish
Preheat oven to 400F. On a roasting pan/cookie sheet/whatever you use, arrange the halved vegetables and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven, scoop the eggplant flesh out of the skin (but if you leave a little of the skin attached, that will add a nice smoky flavor) and put in a large soup pot. Add the tomatoes, onion, cumin and broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until the onion is soft, then remove from heat and let cool slightly.
About 5 minutes before you think the soup will be done simmering, heat the vegetable oil in a small frying pan. When it is hot, add the garlic, coriander and salt and fry briefly, stirring constantly, until the aroma rises but the garlic has not browned. Throw this into the soup for the last few minutes of simmering.
When the soup is sufficiently cool, blend it according to the method of your choosing (with an immersion blender or in batches in a stand blender) to your desired consistency. Return to the soup pot and reheat, adding salt and pepper to taste. After turning off the heat, add the yoghurt and stir to blend thoroughly. Serve with crumbled feta cheese to garnish.
Side note: this soup was also really tasty cold the next day, when I felt too lazy to reheat it.
Side note #2: I also added a wee bit of tahini (sesame seed paste) to the leftovers and that was a very lovely addition. If you wanted to include it, in the full batch I’d suggest adding 2 Tbsp. along with the yoghurt.