Roasted Aubergine Soup - a special soup for a special day
I made this soup for the starter at our International Women’s Day Yoga Supper Club celebration. The recipe has been requested loads so I’ve decided to put it up on the blog. Forgive me if you are bored of soup (can’t imagine why you would be) but here it is!
Preheat the oven to 180c. You need 2 baking sheets lined with foil, a large heavy bottomed pan and a small heatproof bowl.
Serves 8 (large helpings)
4 large aubergines - ends off and cubed into 2 cm pieces
600g fresh ripe tomatoes - cored and chopped
2 medium red onions - sliced thinly
2 large garlic cloves - crushed
75g golden sultanas - I use Australian (you can use whatever you have in the cupboard)
200 ml boiling water
2 bay leaves
3 teaspoons of ras el hanout
2 teaspoons of honey (agave syrup will do but use 3 teaspoons)
1.5 litres good vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 spring onions finely sliced - whites discarded for another use
10 g flaked almond
If your aubergines are super fresh and you feel confident about not salting them beforehand that’s fine. Give the aubergines a wash and then dice them and put into a large bowl. Add some olive oil and a large pinch of salt to the aubergines then stir and coat well with the oil and salt. Place onto the baking trays and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn them and roast for another 5 minutes or until golden but not burnt.
Boil a kettle of water and place the sultanas and bay leaves into a heatproof bowl, once boiled add enough water to cover them (approx 200ml) and leave for 20 minutes. I do this while my aubergines are roasting.
Put a large non stick heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat with a good glug of olive oil, once hot add the onions, ras el hanout and garlic and sauté them together, for about 10 minutes or until the onions are gorgeously golden. Add the honey (or other sweetener of choice) together with the sultanas (now drained but keep the liquid to add to the soup later) along with the bay leaves. Give everything a good stir to marry the flavours together.
Now add the roasted aubergines to the onion pan, then the tomatoes, sultana water and finally the vegetable stock. Stir well and bring the soup up to a gentle simmer over a low heat. Don’t try and do this quickly because you want to capture the flavours slowly, also the liquid will start to evaporate. Partially cover the pan and leave to cook for about 30 minutes, allowing the soup to thicken.
At this point you discard the bay leaves, yes I have been know to blitz a bay leaf or two blending this soup - all was fine. You can let the soup cool a little then transfer to a blender to purée. This amount will take approximately three full loads in a blender, it depends on which machine you have or you could do it with a hand held blender. Whichever you have or prefer. I enjoy my soup quite smooth so I blend each batch twice.
Place the soup back into the large pan, taste and adjust the seasoning if you need to. Should the soup be too thick add a little more vegetable stock.
Now you can reheat your soup, garnish as below or you can put the soup into soup bags for the freezer or a bit of both. I put the soup bags in the fridge once cooled and then straight to the freezer once fridge cold. You can keep this soup for 3 - 6 months in the freezer.
I serve my soup with a garnish of spring onions and flaked almonds. Looks good and goes well with the soup.