I turned on the heat the other night! Do you know how crazy a statement that is for mid-August in southeastern Pennsylvania?? It’s utterly unthinkable. But the unthinkable happened when the normally muggy hot night time temperatures started falling to the 50s this week. The 50s!! I adore autumn weather so I was in my glory, sporting sweaters for my early morning work in the garden and wearing my favorite threadbare hooded sweatshirt while I studied on the porch in the evenings.
I immediately started thinking about all the stuff I needed to get done in the garden before frost, like dividing some of perennials and digging out the sweet potatoes. I had to stop my racing thoughts and remind myself that it was still just August and that things will no doubt warm up again for quite some time before autumn is truly here. I have to say, though, that if it stayed like this, I wouldn’t complain a bit.
Besides thoughts of putting the garden to bed for the winter, I started craving soup. And not just a light summery soup either. Nope, I wanted a hearty thick soup that warms you from the inside out. A ”stew” really… I started looking over the basket of produce I’d just brought in from the garden and contemplating my options: lots of yellow cherry tomatoes, a big bunch of King Midas carrots, and some lovely tender Black Beauty eggplants. A quick search and I found the perfect recipe: Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup.
I really enjoy the mildness of yellow tomatoes, no matter how they’re served. I believe this soup benefited from the lower acidity of having yellow tomatoes in it. They also gave it a lovely hue of gold. That being said, the original recipe called for your average red tomato and I’m sure that’d be fine too. The roasted eggplant and garbanzo beans impart an almost meatiness to the soup (and certainly a nuttiness from the beans). I was timid with my curry powder but next time I might very well double it, especially when the real chill of winter comes.
I’m still shaking my head. Thick hot soup. In August.
Who’d have thought it?!?
Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup
Adapted from Everyday Food
2 pints yellow/orange cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 C. carrots, sliced into thin rounds
8-10 garlic cloves
4 T. olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 t. curry powder
2-2 ½ C. water
fresh cilantro, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425°F, with racks on top and bottom.
On a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, toss together tomatoes, carrots, garlic, 2 tablespoons of oil, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Spread in a single layer, with the tomatoes cut sides down.
On another rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, toss together eggplant, chickpeas, curry powder, remaining two tablespoons of oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer. Place both sheets in oven (tomato mixture on the top rack). Roast until tender, tossing mixtures halfway through, about 35 minutes.
Purée tomato mixture (including juices) in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add a little water if needed to get it going. Transfer to a large saucepan. Stir in eggplant mixture and add enough water to thin to the desired consistency. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, sprinkled with cilantro; garnish with toasted bread if desired.