Adventures in Eating: Curried Eggplant Soup

It is rare when I can take a recipe just as it is and think it superb. Most times, I like to add and subtract ingredients and sort of make it my own thing, much like moving into a new home and redoing it to make it feel like your home. This recipe is an exception, and for that matter, so are the rest of the recipes found in this marvelous cookbook.

“More Taste than Time”, authored by Abbey Mandel and published by Simon and Schuster, is a great collection of as­sorted recipes. I had the privilege of get­ting acquainted with Abbey and she is an unassuming individual, bringing cookies or whatever is needed to a gathering just as any homemaker would contribute. I liked that about her as so many public figures do not have that quiet counte­nance about them. Abbey Mandel devel­oped recipes and cooking methods with the Cuisinart company for many years, and has written several other cookbooks.

I like her recipes because the finished product makes you feel like you have made something very special (and you have!) without toiling for hours to bring together so many textures and flavors of ingredients. To quote from the book, “Each recipe focuses on delivering more taste, flavor and style than its prepara­tion time indicates“. Well said! I have made this soup many times, and it is al­ways a success.

CURRIED EGGPLANT SOUP

Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 35 minutes. Yield: 7 cups

2 large garlic cloves, peeled

1 jalapeno or serrano pepper

1 large onion (8 oz), peeled

1 medium red bell pepper (6 oz)

Eggplant totaling 1 1/2 lbs

3 tbsp light tasting olive oil

4 teaspoons curry powder or to taste

3 1/3 cups chicken stock

1 cup water

1/3 cup whipping cream

Mince garlic and hot pepper in a food processor or blender. Chop onion and red bell pepper in the processor or by hand. Trim eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch cubes without peeling.

Heat oil in a 3 quart pan. Add garlic, hot pepper, onion, red bell pepper, and curry. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions and peppers are soft, about 6 minutes. Add eggplant and cook 3 more minutes.

Add stock or broth and water and heat to the boil. Cover and cook until all veg­etables are very soft, about 20 minutes.

Strain solids from liquid, reserving both. Purée solids in the processor or by batches in a blender until smooth for about 2 minutes. Stir the purée into the cook­ing liquid. Strain, then add cream.

The soup can be served hot or cold. It will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and freezes well. Suggestion: serve it with croutons and finely chopped par­sley. A meal in itself. Have fun!

– Rosemarie

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