We love soup. Make it all the time. Any time we roast a chicken there is a big pot of broth not far behind. We also save all of our celery, carrot and onion bits and ends as we chop. Store it all in a big freezer bag and when it's full, either use it to make the chicken broth or the vegetable broth. We do the same with shrimp peels. We try to not waste too much and we beleive that homemade is better tasting and better for you.
Here is a great recipe using one of our favorite vegetables, eggplant, cooked in practically the most flavorful way - grilled. It's a healthful, flavorful soup that can be served hot or cold. And it is sooooo simple. And don't forget to creatively create your own twist on this (and any recipe!).
2 medium eggplant (about 2 1/2 lbs)
3/4 C chopped onion
1/4 C chopped green bell pepper (we had orange so we used orange)
2 cloves garlic minced (try 6 cloves)
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
4-5 C homemade chicken broth (use veggie broth for a vegetarian/vegan alternative)
salt/pepper to taste
We grilled the eggplant because it brings out the smokiness more than even the broiler in the oven. But roasting or broiling in the oven is a perfectly delicious method. Poke the eggplant in several places before you cook. We grilled it over medium hot coals, turning several times until grilled on all sides. While the grill was hot we roasted a red and a yellow bell and a head of garlic. Let it cool until you can comfortably handle it. Cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the innards or peel the whole thing. Coarsely chop.
While the eggplant is cooling, saute onion, pepper, garlic until tender. Then I threw in most of the head of roasted garlic. I added one diced carrot because I love the flavor and bit of color it adds. Saute it all until tender. Add eggplant and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Process in food processor or blender. I did this in small batches and be careful whenever you process hot fluids. Salt and pepper to taste.
Right before serving, swirl in the roasted red pepper sauce. This is so simple. Broil or grill 2 red bell peppers (again, we used what we had - a red and a yellow) until blistered on all sides. You can place in plastic or paper bag for about 5 minutes, peel, then process peppers and 1 tsp. sugar in blender or food processor. Refriferate until ready to use. Boom - done.
We served this with a couple slices of the Whole Wheat No Knead Bread that we love. This batch was slightly different. I'm trying to use up some unbleached, white flour. This bread recipe calls for 7 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour. This time I used the white flour for 2 1/2 cups to 5 cups whole wheat flour. I had planned to chop up some tarragon and rosemary for this batch but found instead a package of To Market To Market's It's About Thyme dip mix. A wonderful blend of spices. Made a great bread! So much flavor with no additional salt than what is called for in the recipe. I had been wondering if this recipe would welcome savory seasonings and now I know. I'm already planning for the next batch.