Maybe my favourite thing ever is when cold weather mixes with gorgeous early summer produce. Australia is in the middle of one of its wettest and coolest summers on record (it’s only 25 C! woe, according to the Aussies!). This does mean that everything is lush and green and growing, though, so the produce these days has been fabulous. Despite a broken fridge—the true woeful part of this story—we’ve been taking advantage of all the fresh fruit and veg to the nth degree.
This soup is a wonderful combination of a cold weather comfort food made with fresh seasonal veggies—or a great recipe to use up a slightly aged eggplant, since the soup transforms it into a soft mushy deliciousness anyway. I figure you could even use zucchini instead of the eggplant for something more ratatouille-esque. I made my own chicken stock for this recipe; omit the chicken and use vegetable stock instead for something vegetarian, and use gluten free noodles for a gluten free option.
Eggplant Tomato Soup
Cooking time: 60 minutes
- 1 eggplant, sliced into 1 cm chunks
- 2 tins diced tomatoes (400 mL / 14 oz each)
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 cabbage, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped into coins
- 2 liters (2 quarts) chicken or vegetable stock
- 500 g / 1 lb chicken thighs, cut into small bite-sized pieces
- 100 g / 4 oz spaghetti, or other noodles
- 1 tbsp each dried basil and oregano
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and paprika
- 2 tsp sugar
- salt and pepper
Begin heating stock to a low simmer in a large pot. Meanwhile, mince onion and garlic and saute in a separate frying pan with a bit of olive oil. Once they turn slightly translucent and golden, add to the stock. Add the chopped cabbage, carrots, and tins of tomatoes to the chicken stock and simmer slowly. Add spices, sugar, and a bit of pepper (wait to add salt until the end).
In the frying pan (don’t worry about cleaning it), saute the eggplant with a bit more olive oil, for 8-10 minutes until the eggplant has released its moisture and is also going golden. Add to simmering stock.
Lastly in frying pan, add a bit more olive oil and diced chicken. Cook, stirring frequently, just until you can’t see any more pink on the chicken. Drain any excess juices, then add to the simmering vegetable mixture.
Simmer soup covered and on low for about another 30-4o minutes, until carrot is quite soft and flavours have blended. Add spaghetti about 15 minutes before serving (test a noodle to ensure doneness). Taste and add any salt as necessary; bought stock is quite salty already, so you may not need to add much. Adjust spices to your tastes.
Serve with a bit of grated cheddar or parmesean and fresh bread for dunking!