Just had a brief exchange with John Scalzi. I’ll admit that he interacts constantly with his fans, but I still feel a little special. Here’s what was said:
I realize this is my first post of 2014, and I didn’t write a 2013 wrapup, so I’m expected to do something reflective and meaningful. Sorry; this is really just a recipe.
Dish on Queen Street in the Sault makes a killer eggplant peanut soup, but they only have it on the menu once every few weeks. Sometimes I can’t make it, so I might go months without eating it (a tragedy, for sure).
So I figured I’d better learn to make it. I’ll still go to Dish (it’s a great little spot for lunch); I’ll just supplement with homemade soup from time to time. Here’s my version, which was pretty good. I didn’t measure, so these are approximations.
Eggplant Peanut Soup
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes (I don’t really know how big eggplants get, so I think this was a medium one)
1/2 a medium onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smooshed
2 tbsp peanut butter (I used natural peanut butter)
Preheat oven to 425F. Wrap the garlic up in a foil packet and place low in the oven. Spread the cubes of eggplant out on a baking sheet and drizzle it with about half of the olive oil. Shoosh it around a bit to coat, and place the sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. Shoosh the eggplant around on the sheet again, turning it as much as possible, and return it to the oven for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the onion with the remaining olive oil on medium-high heat in a large (deep) pot; this is where you’ll blend up the soup later, so deeper is better. You can throw the salt in now if you like, or hold it back until the end so you can adjust it. Doesn’t matter to me, really.
When the eggplant is starting to carmelize toss it in the big pot with the onion. Also add the garlic, which should be fairly well roasted now.
I figure I added about 2 or 3 cups of water at this point; I’m sorry I didn’t pay closer attention. It was enough to cover the eggplant in my pot, but not really more than that. Let the mixture come to a boil, then turn it down to simmer for about 10 minutes. Take it off the heat.
Here’s the fun part: use an immersion blender (stick blender) to creamify the mixture. Make sure you get it fairly smooth. Add water if you’re having trouble making it soupy. When you’re satisfied with it, add in the peanut butter – it’ll get nice and creamy at this point.
That’s it – I hope you enjoy it, and I’ll refine the details when I make it again. Kerri and I ate the whole pot in two full bowls, but that was kind of a lot. Probably one more person could have joined us.