Roasted Eggplant & Garlic Soup

Roasted Eggplant & Garlic Soup

2 medium or large eggplants, stems removed, cut in half lengthwise
4 large garlic cloves, peeled, ends cut off
½ cup yellow onion, large-dice
2 tablespoons olive oil (vegetable oil and butter also fine)
32 ounces chicken or vegetable stock
¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To garnish:
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Lightly coat the cut-side of each eggplant with olive oil, then place each half on the baking sheet, cut-side down.

Lightly toss the garlic cloves in olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil and place on the baking sheet with the eggplant.

Roast the eggplant and garlic at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until the eggplant skin begins to collapse and the flesh is a deep, golden brown; the garlic should also be soft and golden brown.

Remove from oven and set aside; when eggplant is cool enough to handle, remove, and discard, the skin.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepot (3-quart), sauté the onions in 2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted eggplant, garlic, chicken stock, salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and use an immersion blender, food processor or liquid blender to puree the soup until smooth and silky. Add the cream and blend for one more minute to combine, then return the pot to the stovetop. Heat over medium heat until hot; taste and add more seasoning as desired.

To serve, pour soup into bowl and garnish with fresh parsley, grated cheese and croutons. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for at least two months.