Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

This is one of my favorite soups: both to eat and to make. As a member of the Farm Direct Co-op, a local community supported agriculture program, from June through November my refrigerator and pantry are filled with locally grown fruits and vegetables. With a spouse who isn't a huge vegetable fan and daughters who live far away, I have found soups to be a great way to use whatever vegetables I receive in a week while at the same time, providing me with quick meals that I can heat up during a busy work week.

I often make this recipe up to the point where the roasted vegetables are pureed and combined, freezing the puree as individual portions. When I'm ready to eat it, I defrost the puree, add the water, and heat. When my daughter, a vegetarian visits, she takes the frozen puree back to New York with her on the bus.

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup*

Serves: 6
Prep time: 25 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

3 pounds tomatoes (about 12), chopped
½ pound carrots, cut into ¾” pieces
10 garlic cloves
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Course salt and ground pepper
1 large eggplant (1 ½ pounds), cut into ¾” chunks (I often use 3 narrow Japanese eggplant)
1 can (15.5 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. curry powder
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
Toasted rustic bread, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°, with racks on top and bottom. In bowl, toss together tomatoes, carrots, garlic, 2 Tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Spread in a rectangular baking pan or rimmed cookie sheet (I often coat the pan with a light spray of cooking oil before adding the vegetables.)

In another bowl, toss together eggplant, chickpeas, curry powder, remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Spread in single layer in second roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet. Place both sheets in oven (tomato mixture on top rack). Roast until tender, tossing mixtures halfway through, about 45 minutes.

Purée tomato mixture (including juices) in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer to a large pot. Stir in eggplant mixture; thin with 3 to 4 cups water.

Bring to simmer over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, sprinkled with cilantro; garnish with bread, if desired.

* Adapted from a recipe in Martha Stewart's Food Magazine

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