Roasted eggplant soup

(wrinkly, like an old lady's bottom)

I think eggplant is amazing. Just saying.

I find people either love it or hate it, and I think those that hate it simply haven’t had it prepared properly. Mediterranean cuisine includes some of the best eggplant dishes, (baba ghanoush anyone?). In fact, even if you just roast an eggplant (halved, face down on an oven tray until the skin is really wrinkly), scrape out the flesh and smash with plenty of salt and pepper, it’s amazing as a dip. If you wrap a head of garlic in foil, roast it as well for at least 1/2 hour, pop out the cloves and smash with the eggplant, adding a dash of good quality olive oil, even better.

So I wanted to create an eggplant soup – mostly because I love eggplant, and a little because I’ve never heard of it or tasted it before so I can pretend I invented it. And I thought the flavour themes in baba ghanoush would work well. It didn’t turn out to taste anything like baba ghanoush, but it was still yummy!

Note: Do not Google eggplant soup to burst my bubble.

Roasted eggplant soup (serves 4-5)

If I’d had a can of cannellini beans in the pantry, they definitely would have ended up in here. If it needs more oomph to satisfy you, serve topped with toasted nuts or seeds. You could stir in a can of any legumes with the spinach, or blend it with the veggies. Maybe drizzle olive oil when serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 1.5 litres chicken-flavoured stock (I ran out of veggie, shock horror! Don’t worry, my chicken stock doesn’t have dead birds in it. At all.)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 box (250g) of frozen spinach (everything is improved with a ‘metric fuckload’ of spinach – thank you Mr Price for providing me with this brilliant and apt expression)
  • Lots of fresh cracked pepper and salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Halve eggplant lengthways, lie face-down on baking tray lined with baking paper. Wrap un-peeled head of garlic in foil, and each of the onions, un-peeled too. Pop on the baking tray and roast it all for at least 1/2 hour, more like 45 minutes to an hour. The skin of the eggplant halves should be very wrinkled.
  3. Blend roasted vegetables with stock, cumin, paprika, chilli, sage, soy sauce, tahini and lemon juice. In batches.
  4. Reheat on the stove with spinach until it’s well mixed in.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning if you feel the need. Serve with a generous crack of pepper and salt.
  6. If you’re anything like me, divvy up leftovers into containers and freeze so you can throw a soup in your handbag for work lunches without it leaking everywhere.
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