Recipe for eggplant, roasted red pepper and mint soup
Another roasted red pepper soup, this time with eggplant in the starring role. I know what you're thinking. How could eggplant soup be this glorious color? You're right. On its own, eggplant soup would look like wet cement. With a little help from the red pepper, this soup glows. The recipe, from the New England Soup Factory Cookbook, calls for cream, and I debated about putting it in because the soup was rich and flavorful without it. In the end, I did add half of the light cream, which smoothed out the texture. I also substituted V-8 juice for tomato juice, because I happened to have it on hand.
Eggplant, roasted red pepper and mint soup
Made with vegetable stock, this soup is vegetarian. Omit the cream to make it vegan. You can prepare this soup up to a day ahead; refrigerate, and reheat. Serves 10-12; can be halved.
3 whole, medium-sized eggplant
3 Tbsp butter
4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1 large Spanish onion, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, sliced
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cups roasted red peppers (store-bought are fine)
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock)
2 cups tomato juice (I used V-8)
2 cups light cream (I used 1-1/4 cups)
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, washed (or to taste; I used 10 small sprigs from the garden)
5 dashes Tabasco sauce
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F.
With a fork, prick each eggplant in several places. Set the eggplants on a rimmed baking sheet, place the pan in the oven, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the eggplant is quite soft. Remove from the oven and let cool. With a sharp knife, slice each eggplant lengthwise and scoop out the pulp. Set it aside, and discard the skins.
In a stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, celery and carrots. Saute for 10 minutes, to soften the vegetables. Add the eggplant pulp, roasted red peppers, stock and tomato juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 35 minutes.
Remove from heat, and add the cream, mint, Tabasco and Worcestershire.
Using your immersion blender, or in a standing blender or food processor, puree the soup until very smooth. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Place the soup back in the stock pot, and continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes. Serve hot.