September is such a beautiful month in BC. With sunny blue skies and warm air, it can feel like summer in the middle of the day. And yet, fall sneaks into the early mornings and evenings with that clean crisp smell and chilly air. It’s one of my favourite times of the year to enjoy the best of both seasons. It’s also a time when I begin to crave warm comfort food and a soul-nourishing bowl of homemade soup.
A couple of years ago, I enjoyed an amazing bowl of roasted tomato soup at a conference. It was so good that I just had to try and re-create it. Now, it’s a family favourite with rave reviews. It’s rich in seasonal flavour harvested from the farmer’s market or my garden pickings.
1 large eggplant
6 medium tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
28oz/796mL can diced tomatoes
1 small bunch basil, chopped (about a 14g pkg)
1/2 cup whipping cream – consider including a lower fat version if possible
salt, pepper and sugar to taste
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Slice eggplant into 1 inch slices. Place in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet or pan. Roast eggplant for 20 minutes. Cool slightly and chop.
Increase oven temperature to broil. Cut tomatoes into quarters. Place in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet or pan. Roast under the broiler until charred, about 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
Heat oil in a large soup pot or saucepot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onion are soft, about 8 minutes. Add roasted and chopped eggplant, roasted tomatoes, canned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
In batches, transfer to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth or to desired consistency. Return to soup pot or use a clean soup pot/saucepot. Stir in chopped basil and cream. Heat soup over medium heat until heated through. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar. Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.