ROASTED EGGPLANT SOUP WITH GARLIC AND PEPPERS
Ingredients:

2 medium eggplant, halved lengthwise

¼ cup olive oil

2 heads roasted garlic

1 large onion, finely diced

3 red bell peppers, roasted (you may use prepared roasted peppers in a jar)

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 tbsps. chopped cilantro or parsley

6 cups chicken broth (or you may use 3 cups each of chicken broth and tomato juice)

½ cup strained yogurt

1 – 2 tbsps. Chopped fresh mint

Roasted red pepper strips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Dry off the cut surfaces of the eggplant, brush with olive oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet. At the same time, cut the top off of each head of garlic, rub with some olive oil and wrap in foil.

(If you are making your own roasted peppers, wash, seed and cut peppers in half. Place cut side down along with the eggplant and garlic for 20 minutes or longer until skins are charred black. When cool enough to handle peel off skin.)

Place eggplant, garlic, and peppers (if applicable) in oven, roasting for approximately 20 – 30 minutes or until soft.

When eggplant is done, scoop out the pulp into a large bowl and discard skin. Squeeze the roasted garlic from their skins into the same bowl along with the skinned roasted peppers. (Save a few strips of peppers to be used as a garnish if desired) Set aside. Heat remaining olive oil in a medium stockpot adding more oil if needed. When sizzling toss in the onion, cumin, and parsley, and sauté until onion is limp. Add the roasted eggplant, garlic, peppers and broth stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for roughly 20 minutes. Using a food processor or blender puree the soup in several batches until smooth. Return to pot adding pepper and salt if you wish and reheat slowly. When ready to serve ladle into bowls and garnish with yogurt, chopped mint and some roasted pepper strips.

Eggplant has a subtle smoky flavor and dense texture, which allows it to absorb a wide range of flavours. As a bonus it is also low in calories and high in potassium and fiber.

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