It has been rather chilly down under and when the weather is cold all I feel like is potato wedges... lots of them. But as we all know whilst a bit of decadence is always good, winter and the cold weather will be here for a while so finding healthy recipes that give you comfort is so important to ensure you don't start the slippery slope to being a couch potato (or couch wedge in my case).
This is my favourite soup recipe of all time. I recently created it after playing with a few flavours. It is hearty and filling and warm and I know is going to satisfy your belly as much as your palette. I love to cook, and I especially love the flavours and vegetables of the Meditteranean and Middle East. My favourite spice at the moment is smoked paprika. The good stuff, not the stuff you get in the supermarkets, but the stuff you get in the speciality spice shops. So I have been added it to EVERYTHING :)
I am also a lover of eggplant. It's such a satisfying vegetable, no surprise that its called the king of vegetarians. Add my love of garlic and its no surprise this soup was created. It's absolutely beautiful. Enjoy it alone or with some crusty grainy bread lathered in some pepe saya butter. OK that's not as healthy for you as the soup, but a girls gotta live!
I prefer to make my soups vegetarian so I can then add my protein into it later. This has 2 benefits: 1 you can control the amount of protein you are eating and 2 without adding the protein you can eat as much soup as you like. Hoorah!
Take the eggplant, tomatoes, onions, garlic, sweet potato and leek and chop into big chunks (about 3x3cm). Lather in olive oil (be as generous as your bum and thighs allow) in a large metallic baking dish. Throw some salt and pepper over and bake at 250 centigrade until the vegetables are soft and charred (about 30-40 minutes). Remove the top layer of charred vegetables and place in a deep (soup) pot with the beef stock and paprika. Put on a medium heat.
Return the remaining vegetables to the oven and put onto grill to get some more charring on the top (max 5 minutes - make sure you watch otherwise they will burn). Place the rest of the vegetables into the soup pot. If some of the vegetables are not fully cooked through then slowly cook them in the pot, otherwise take a hand blender and blitz the soup for as long as you want until you get the consistency you want (I like it thick but not smooth).
Enjoy with friends and family.
Note: once you blend the soup it will "burp" in the soup dish so be careful not to leave it on the heat otherwise anyone close by might get a splattering of hot soup on them.
Would love to know what you think of this soup and tell us what your favourite winter soup is ?