The sauteed vegetables that go into this rich, elegant pureed soup bring out the sweetness of the roasted eggplant.
Make Ahead: The soup can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated. Reheat in a large saucepan over low heat until warmed through; add milk as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
Yield: Makes about 8 1/2 cups
- For the soup
- 6 small to medium eggplants, roasted and peeled (about 5 1/2 pounds; see NOTE)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 medium carrots, chopped (2 1/2 cups)
- 2 medium onion, chopped (2 to 2 1/3 cups)
- 1 medium leek, white part only, cleaned and chopped
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups regular or low-fat milk
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream or half-and-half
- 2 or 3 sprigs thyme
- For serving
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese
- 2 or 3 sprigs thyme
Coarsely chop the eggplants.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onions, leek, garlic and bay leaves; stir to coat evenly. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the wine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 6 minutes, until almost all of the wine has evaporated.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the chopped eggplant, milk, cream or half-and-half and the sprigs of thyme. Cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to make sure the mixture remains below a boil. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Remove from the heat.
Use an immersion (stick) blender to puree until smooth. Alternatively, puree the soup in a blender or food processor, making sure to remove the center knob of the blender lid and cover the opening with a clean dish towel so steam can escape. If desired, strain through a fine-mesh strainer.
If serving right away, divide among individual soup bowls and garnish with pinches or crumbles of the goat cheese and the thyme, if desired; serve hot. Or cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
NOTE: Prick the eggplants a few times, then either roast over the direct heat of a 450-degree grill for 20 to 30 minutes or place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast in a 450-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. The skin should be slightly charred, and the interior of the eggplants should be completely soft. Cool slightly before discarding the skins.
Adapted from a recipe by Yaron Kestenbaum of Foodart Catering in Tel Aviv.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.