Jeanette - Off The Cuff

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Blogger at: http://offthecuffhome.blogspot.com and http://offthecuffcooking.blogspot.com -- My name is Jeanette, and I was born in Sweden, but unlike the famous Muppet, I am not a professional Swedish Chef. I actually studied design and photography. I also was a freelance indie-rock critic for several magazines from 1998-2005, and had an in-house PR company for a while. Cooking is in my DNA--my dad's brother was a chef and their father was a pastry chef, my mom's mother was a caterer, who published a cookbook of traditional Finnish breads and pastries when she was 92. Everyone else in my family loves to cook, and we're not afraid to experiment. I have a yen for interior design and remodeling.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Roasted Eggplant Soup

roasted eggplant soup 016 Okay, I know that it's July and most of the United States are in a heatwave.  However, here in the Pacific Northwest, it's been way cooler than even our normal summertime averages. So I felt like making something a bit savory, and I realized just now as I typed up the title that I cook with eggplant a lot.  I have other recipes up my sleeve, too, which I’m sure I’ll get around to eventually.  But anyway, I had meant to do my recipe for Cordoba Fried Eggplant (Berenjenas Con Miel) but as time did not allow today to haul out the deep fryer, I opted to do something a little easier.  I found this similar recipe online at Safeway.com, and made it with a few minor modifications.   It was a hearty, but light soup, full of rich, savory flavors, and it was delicious with some bread on the side.


INGREDIENTS:
3 –4 small eggplants, approx. 1-2 cups of total mass
1 medium sized onion, yellow or white
3 large cloves garlic
3-5 tomatoes (depending on preference)
2 tsp vegetable bouillon paste
2+ cups water
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2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp white flour
1.5 cups whole milk
1 dash of nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/4 cup minced fresh sage and thyme (about half of each)
Fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Cut off the stems on the eggplants, and cut them in half lengthwise.  Place them in baking dish or on a cookie sheet, and brush them on all sides with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt.  Leave tomatoes whole, but cut onion into quarters, and brush with oil.  Place in baking dish or on cookie sheet, along with whole cloves of garlic.  Roast in a preheated oven at 400 degrees until softened and lightly browned.  Onion may not be totally browned, but as long as it’s softened, that’s okay. 

Mince herbs in a petite bowl with scissors for a total of a loosely packed 1/4 cup
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Transfer tomatoes, onion, and garlic into a stock pot, and pour juices that may have run out during the roasting into the stock pot as well.  Let the eggplant cool a bit, and then scoop out the flesh from the rind into the pot.  Add water, and then use an immersion blender to puree it in the pot. 
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If you do not own an immersion blender, transfer all roasted vegetables into a food processor, and blend until smooth and then pour back into the pot.  Bring up to medium heat to simmer, adding vegetable bouillon paste, and stirring it in well.  Add ground pepper also.
Meanwhile, make a roux by melting the butter in a sauce pan, carefully whisking in flour until distributed, and pour in milk, a few tablespoons at a time to heat up, while whisking constantly, to avoid clumping. 
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Continue cooking sauce over low heat, until thickened.  Sprinkle in half a tablespoon of flour if it’s not quite thick enough after a few minutes.  The consistency should be approximately like spaghetti sauce.  Sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg, and salt, and put in minced herbs for a minute or two before gently folding the roux into the simmering vegetable puree.  Stir together until well distributed, and serve up hot with some fresh bread on the side.
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