It has been a beautiful winter throughout the country this year. I had almost forgotten about winter. Almost, then I came to Chicago. It was 81 F when I left Dallas at 5:00 pm. When I arrived in Chicago it was 38 F. As I sit in O’Hare waiting on my flight home, the thermometer is steadily dropping, it’s dreary outside and snow is on the way. I am ready for a nice bowl of soup instead of this rubberized chicken salad at Macaroni Grill. Food on the plane would have been better. Blech!
This soup came about in the middle of the Fall in the waning days of our little garden. We had grown Aubergine eggplant and had been blessed throughout the summer with beautiful eggplant. We thought we had harvested all the little beauties. Then, one afternoon as I was checking the plants, I stumbled upon a 1.75 lb. purple beauty. I was shocked as it had hidden itself where we could not see it. It was huge and we worried it would be tough. It wasn’t and this soup was born.
3 medium tomatoes, halved
1-1/2 pounds eggplant halved lengthwise (1 large or 2 small eggplant)
1 medium onion, halved
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
6 cups low salt chicken stock
1-1/2 tsp Sambal Olek
1 tsp cumin
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp sea salt (depends on your stock)
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (about 3 1/2 ounces)
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place tomatoes, eggplant, onion and garlic on large baking sheet. Brush vegetables with oil. Roast until vegetables are tender and brown in spots, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Scoop eggplant from skin into heavy large saucepan; discard skin. Add remaining roasted vegetables, thyme, cumin and sambal olek to same saucepan. Add 6 cups chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until onion is very tender, about 45 minutes.
Cool slightly. Then, working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan. Stir in cream. Bring to simmer. Season soup with salt. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with goat cheese and cilantro. Serve and enjoy.