Roasted Eggplant Soup (version V)

3 medium tomatoes, halved
1 large eggplant (1-1/2 pounds), halved lengthwise
1 small onion, halved
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
4 cups stock, (or more)
1 cup whipping cream (optional)
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place tomatoes, eggplant, onion and garlic on large baking sheet. Brush vegetables with oil. Roast until tender and brown in spots, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven.

Scoop eggplant from skin into soup pot; discard skin. Add remaining roasted vegetables and thyme to pot. Add 4 cups stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook until onion is very tender, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree soup until smooth. Stir in cream. Bring to simmer, thinning with more stock if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with goat cheese and serve.

Serves 4.

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