By David Harbilas
This is a soup that seems to be best during the colder months of autumn but is really at home in summer, when the vegetables are at their peak.
The method couldn’t be simpler: roast each of the vegetables and puree with a little stock and cream.
Eggplant is surprisingly similar to tomato in its meaty quality.
What is lacks in sweetness it makes up for in depth of flavor that even the staunchest of vegetarians can’t resist as a close substitute to beef.
Yields Â½ gallon of soup
- 8 large red tomatoes
- 2 large eggplant
- 1 head garlic
- 1 yellow onion
- About 3 cups of stock, either chicken or vegetable
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
As in last week’s roasted tomato sauce, cut the stem end of the tomato out and cut an X in the skins. Place in a roasting pan, pour in about Â¼ cup of water, cover with foil, and roast at 300 degrees for 4-6 hours, until the tomatoes are shriveled and the skins slip off easily. Meanwhile, cut both ends off the eggplant and cut in half lengthwise. Rub each half with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and place cut side down on a sheet pan.
Place in the same oven the tomatoes are roasting in and cook for 1-2 hours, or until the eggplant are nearly falling apart. At the same time, cut the head of garlic in half cross-wise, exposing the cloves. Wrap in a piece of tin foil, drizzling with a little olive and salt and pepper. Roast the garlic at the same time for about 1 hour, or until the entire head is soft and the cloves can be squeezed out of the dry outer skin.
Once the vegetables are all roasted, remove and cool slightly. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins and place into a blender. Scoop the flesh from the skins of the eggplant and place in the blender with the garlic. Remove the skins from the tomatoes and place as much will fit in the blender halfway. Meanwhile, cut the onion into medium dice and sautÃ© in butter until soft, about 4 minutes.
Place the onion in the blender with the other vegetables and puree until smooth, adding stock if needed to make them turn in the jar. Puree the rest of the vegetables in batchs, adding stock as needed, until all the vegetables have been used. Stir the pureed vegetables together and check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the heavy cream, heat and serve.