March 12, 2013

Pin It Burnt Eggplant Soup - Cook the Books

Taken from Jerusalem: A Cookbook 
Two for two Jerusalem cookbook. You've done it again.

This soup was delicious! I think probably one of my favorite soups I've made. It's a little involved (seems to be a theme with this book) but absolutely worth it. It has a very unique flavor (probably because I've never had eggplant soup before) but it was great and I would totally make this again.

5 small eggplants
Sunflower oil, for flying (I used olive oil)
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon ground cumin 
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 large tomatoes, skinned and diced
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 2/3 cups water
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup mograbieh, or alternative such as maftoul, fregola or giant couscous
2 tablespoons shredded basil or 1 tablespoon chopped dill, optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Burn 3 eggplants, either over the flame of a gas burner or in the boiler. If you use the broiler, char the eggplants on a foil lined baking sheet on high for 60 minutes, rotating the eggplants to char evenly on each side. Once they are charred  remove from oven and cool slightly. Cut in half and scrape out insides to add to the soup.

While the 3 eggplants are burning, dice the remaining 2 eggplants. Heat about 2/3 cups oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the diced eggplant. Fry for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until colored all over.  Remove eggplant, place in a colander to drain and sprinkle with salt.

Using a large stock pot with ~1 tablespoon of oil, saute onion and cumin for about 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute before adding the tomatoes, stock, water, garlic, sugar, lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and some black pepper. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil and add mograbieh or alternative (I used Israeli couscous). Cook according to directions until al dente. Drain and refresh under cold water.

Transfer the burnt eggplant flesh to the soup and blend using an immersion blender. After the soup is blended, add the mograbieh/couscous and fried eggplant keeping some of each for garnish. Simmer for another 2 minutes. Serve hot with reserved mograbieh and fried eggplant on top, and garnish with basil or dill.

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