Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cream of Ratatouille Soup

Ratatouille is a great summer casserole that we make quite a bit when the tomatoes, zucchini and peppers (and sometimes those slow-growing eggplants) are popping out of the garden like firecrackers in August and September. I usually make some up at least once a week for dinner with some melted cheese on top and then freeze the rest to pull out in the winter when we need a little garden remembrance.

This recipe caught my eye and I actually was so "homesick" for ratatouille during our January Arctic-style weather that I went out and bought fresh zucchini, peppers and a lovely little eggplant to whip up this lovely soup.

Being the style of cook that I am, of course I fiddled with the recipe: I didn't peel my eggplant, I used vegetable broth instead of the chicken stock called for, used dried thyme and basil from my garden preservation stores and substituted 1 (14.5 oz.) can of diced tomatoes and their juice for the fresh tomatoes. Half-and-half was used instead of heavy cream, so my version of this soup recipe is posted below.

Cream of Ratatouille Soup

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 unpeeled and chopped eggplant, diced
2 medium onions, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 zucchini, diced
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. dried basil
2/3 cup half-and-half
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot. Saute eggplant, onions, red pepper, zucchini, and garlic, stirring, for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Add tomatoes and their juice, vegetable stock, thyme, and basil. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover. Simmer 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Take half of vegetables from pot and puree in food process or blender. Return to pot, season with salt and pepper to taste and add half-and-half. Heat through and serve.

Serves 6-8.

**I plan to make this soup again, but I think I would modify it further as it was kind of tangy from the eggplant:zucchini ratio. Next time, I would triple the number of zucchinis. I would imagine that one could also just thaw out some frozen ratatouille and puree it in the food processor to form the basis for this same type of soup.

This delicious soup is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging #166, which is being hosted by me this week. Weekend Herb Blogging is a food blog event that focuses on recipes featuring herbs and plant ingredients or which inform readers about the nutritional qualities of herbs and plants. Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything Once is the present hostess of Weekend Herb Blogging and you can find out more about the event, who some upcoming guest hosts will be, as well as WHB roundup archives on her site.

I have already received some interesting and toothsome WHB entries already this week and will be posting a roundup on Monday. The deadline for submitting a Weekend Herb Blogging post to me is tomorrow (3pm Sunday - Utah Time, 9pm Sunday - London Time, 8 am Monday - Melbourne (Aus) Time).

Thanks for stopping by....


Ivy said...

The soup sounds delicious and perfect for cold days. I am sending you my entry today.

What's Cookin Chicago said...

What a great soup for the winter!

Alicia Foodycat said...

That's one to remember for the summer when (hopefully) I can't move for the zucchinis!

Haalo said...

What a great idea for a soup and an excellent way to enjoy those lovely flavours of ratatouille!

Laurie Constantino said...

Ratatouille in a bowl - SO GOOD! What I like about soups is all the different variations you can do with essentially the same ingredients.