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This is one of my favorite winter soups. It's spicy and very flavorful, and makes an excellent side or appetizer soup. The most important thing when preparing it is to try not to lose the juice from the peppers when you roast them--it adds a lot of flavor to your soup! Also, all the spices at the end, including the lime juice, should be added to taste, a little at a time. The soup is fine without them, but I thought it needed something until I added them. Finally, if you are preparing this as a vegan recipe, just omit the cream garnish. Use scallions, and maybe a spoonful of olive paste instead to garnish!
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 2 cups finely chopped red onions
- 1 -2 sprig fresh thyme
- 1⁄2 fresh red chili peppers or 1⁄2 teaspoon spicy chili powder
- 2 -4 teaspoons paprika
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- black pepper
- ground coriander
- 1 dash lime juice
- fresh cream (for garnishing) or black olive paste (for garnishing)
- finely chopped scallion (for garnishing)
- Preheat oven to 425F/220°C.
- While the peppers and eggplant are roasting, chop your onions and fresh chili (if you are using a fresh chili). Throw away the seeds and pith of the chili, and remember to only use half. Set aside.
- Put the eggplant and the bell peppers on a baking tray. To prevent exploding, poke a few holes in the eggplant, and one small slit in each pepper, facing up (while the peppers cook, they will fill with juice, and you don’t want it to leak out).
- Roast them in the oven for about 40 minutes, until the eggplant is soft. Allow to cool enough to touch.
- Carefully put the peppers in a bowl, saving as much juice as possible, and cut in half. Peel away and discard the skin, seeds and pith.
- Cut the eggplant in half, and use a spoon (a grapefruit spoon works amazing for this if you have one!) to scoop out the flesh into the bowl with the red pepper flesh.
- Put the olive oil in the soup pot on low heat, and add the onions. Cook until soft, but not browned.
- Add the hot chili or chili powder, and cook for few quick minutes.
- Add the eggplant, red peppers, thyme, and paprika, and stir.
- Add about three quarters of the stock (enough to cover the contents of the pot), and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- In a few batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth (you need to use a second pot to keep the pureed and un-pureed soup separate).
- Add more stock to adjust the consistency if you need to.
- Add salt, black pepper, small amounts of oregano and coriander, and more of the other spices and thyme to taste. Add a small dash of lime juice as well.
- Serve hot with a spoonful or two of fresh cream on top, and a spoonful of chopped scallions.