Roasted Eggplant Soup (version III)

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3 eggplant, 1 large, 2 small
1 1/4 quarts broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 onion, sliced
1/2 cup heavy cream, optional
salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 450. Prick the small eggplants a few times with a fork. Bake, turning once, until very tender, about 1 hour. Transfer to a colander and let drain until cool enough to handle.

2 Meanwhile, preheat the broiler to low. Broil the large eggplant 4 to 6 inches from the heat, turning as needed, until charred on all sides and tender inside, about 20 minutes. You may also grill it on a heavy griddle over medium heat. This may take a little less time, but you need to have a very heavy griddle so that it cooks evenly and doesn't scorch. Transfer the grilled eggplant to a colander and let cool.

3 Cut the cooled eggplants in half and scoop out the flesh.

4 Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent. Add 4/5 of the broth and the eggplant pulp. Heat to boiling, then reduce the heat and simmer a few minutes. Purée the soup in a blender or food processor.

5 Thin the soup with broth to the desired consistency. If the eggplant flavor is too smoky for your palate, add the cream. Reheat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

This recipe serves: 8

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