I prepared quite the interesting soup last night. I wasn’t sure what to make of this one because there were some ingredients I wasn’t familiar with. Also, I had yet to incorporate eggplant into a soup as this recipe called for. I must tell you that the result was impressive though. Everything turned out fine and I was thrilled with the result.
There are a few really great aspects of this soup that are so memorable. First, I love anything that uses toasted pecans. I tend to use those, but feel free to use almonds instead. It’s up to you. Also, this recipe calls for a combination of spices that’s known as ras el hanout. This is an incredible tasting medley, but the issue is that very few of us are likely to have it on hand. Instead of search high and low for it, simply make it yourself. Here’s how:
Ras El Hanout Recipe
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Teaspoon freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
Do you see those spices? This is why North African food is so sublime.
As for the rest of this recipe, it’s a snap to put together. Some roasting of the eggplant combined with some simmering of the broth and diced tomatoes will fill your bowl with something you’ll enjoy for at least a few nights.
2 Pounds Eggplant, Cut into 1/2 Inch Pieces
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, Chopped
Ground Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
1 1/2 Teaspoons Ras El Hanout
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
4 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 28-Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes, Drained
1/4 Cup Raisins
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
1/4 Pecans, Crushed and Toasted
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, Minced
I’d like to thank America’s Test Kitchen for their wonderful resource called The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook. This book has has some incredible recipe in it and I haven’t been disappointed yet.
Pre-Heat Your Oven
Adjust one of your oven racks so it’s four inches away from the top broiler. Then, turn the broiler on to warm the oven.
Prep & Roast the Eggplant
Trim the ends from your eggplant. Then, dice it up into 1/2 inch pieces and place the pieces in a bowl.
After that, add five tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to the bowl and mix well.
Spread the eggplant out over a large baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and let broil for ten minutes. Then, stir the eggplant up and broil for another seven minutes. After that, turn off the heat and remove the tray from the oven. Set aside at least two cups of eggplant for use later in the recipe.
Make the Soup
Warm a large saucepan over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pot and then add the onions.
As you can see from the image above, I used two types of onion. This is merely because I had some left over from something else and I wanted to use them up.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper to the pot and let the onions cook for about ten minutes or until they begin to brown. After that, mix in the garlic, ras el hanout and cumin. Stir and cook for another minute. Then, stir in the broth, tomatoes, raisins and eggplant that hasn’t been set aside. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat and when it begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Blend the Soup
Using a hand blender or regular blender in batches, blend the soup until it’s smooth.
Then, add the remaining eggplant to the pot and simmer over medium-low heat for about five minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Finally, turn off the heat.
Plate & Serve
Divide the soup between bowls and add some toasted pecans and cilantro to each. You may also drizzle some additional olive oil over each one if you so desire. Then, serve and enjoy!
The Final Eggplant & Tomato Soup
As you can see, this soup encompasses so much more than just eggplant and tomato. While those are included ingredients, I’d say it’s the nuts and spices that truly stand out. I can’t wait for you to try this soup. When you do, please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!