Eggplant and Tomato Soup Gratin

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup tomato juice
4 cups broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
6 slices toasted country-style bread
6 ounces grated dry monterey jack cheese

In a saucepan, heat the oil. Cook the garlic and onion until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the eggplant and tomato and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, tomato juice, broth, and parsley. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the bread slices with cheese, and toast or broil them until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with cheese toasts.

Serves 6

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