We’re off to Points North for a while; a stopover in Boston to visit friends, a trip to Maine to visit family and then over to Rumney, NH for some climbing and outdoorsy fun. Some husband of mine has a milestone birthday this week, so we are celebrating with good friends, family, outdoor time and, of course, good food.
Since it’s always colder than you think in Maine, and I always do some cooking when we are up there, I’m boning up on my hearty, warm soups. This one, from Martha Stewart, via Serious Eats, via my friend Kim, is a winner – and I don’t even like eggplant. Even though I made it too spicy (I know; I never do that! I was shocked too.) and had to calm it down with some heavy cream, and even though I had just used the last of the cilantro making four (count ’em FOUR) batches of chile verde base, and had to substitute flat-leaf parsley, it was still delicious. Even better the second day when it has thickened over night to a stew-like curry. If eggplant is not your favorite – give this one a try. It uses up a lot of eggplant and is really quite delicious.
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 3 lbs tomatoes (core tomatoes if you do not want to run through a food mill)
- 1/2 lb carrots, scrubbed, trimmed and coarsely chopped
- 1 head garlic, cloves peeled
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded (optional)
- 2 medium eggplants (about 1 and 1/2 lbs), trimmed, chopped to 1/2-inch dice
- 1 and 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (one 15-oz can, rinsed)
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 2 tsp sea salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (400 degrees F convection).
- Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet; spread evenly across the surface. Slice each tomato in half and place cut side on the baking sheet. Drizzle or spray olive oil over the tops of the tomatoes. Toss carrots and garlic cloves with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add to the tomatoes and roast at 425 degrees F until the tomato skins have blackened and the carrots are tender, about 45 minutes (35 minutes convection).
- Toss eggplant and chickpeas with curry powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 2 tbsp olive oil. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until chickpeas are crispy, about 45 minutes (35 minutes convection).
- Push the roasted tomatoes through a food mill to remove skins, seeds & cores.
- Transfer tomato pulp, carrots & garlic (including any pan juices) to the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth (add the 2 cups water if necessary) and tranfer to a medium (4-quart) stockpot. Add the eggplant/chickpea mixture to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Thin the soup if necessary with the 2 cups of water; simmer for 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Taste, adjust seasonings, and add the heavy cream if desired. Heat through and serve hot, garnished with parsley or cilantro and rustic bread.
- I added one red jalapeno, with seeds, to this soup and it was really spicy. I love the spice, but I think this overwhelmed the flavor of the soup; next time I would try a seeded jalapeno, maybe even 1/2 of a seeded green jalapeno, just for a little bit of kick. Or perhaps no jalapeno at all, but a pinch or two of cayenne or smoked paprika.
- The soup was very flavorful without the addition of cream (and in fact, I am not a big fan of cream in soups); I added it to tame the spice a bit. I think it is good either way.
Refirgerated, use within 5 days. Martha says you can freeze this for up to 3 months, but I am skeptical as to how the chickpeas & eggplant would fare on thawing; at any rate, I don’t think ours will last that long.