Monday, January 30, 2012

On a Cold Winter's Night...

I have to say for all of my complaining about the cold, for the most part I do enjoy winter. I don’t enjoy the negative temperatures that my city so forcefully blows into my face, but I do enjoy the crackling fires, the ability to wear a blanket around the house without looking like a crazy person and of course the soups!

As evidenced by my previous postings, I do enjoy a good soup every now and again (ahem, once a week at least), they warm you both inside and out. I do however get exhausted by spending hours and hours in front of the stove. And to boot, I dislike cream based soups, which leaves out at least half of the delicious soup recipes out there. Which is why, when I came across this recipe for a roasted tomato soups (CREAM FREE!), I jumped.

I decided that while a warm bowl of essentially tomato, is delicious, it may not be totally filling. So I paired it with an open-face veggie sandwich and not only do you have a delicious meal that hits pretty much every major vegetable in the garden (or store) but also something warm and filling. And of course, rather quick!

The Soup (serves 2-3)

15 Plum Tomatoes, halved

½ Yellow Onion Diced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 TSP Olive Oil

½ TBS Paprika

1 cup of Vegetable Stock

Salt and pepper to taste

2 TBS chopped Parsley (for garnish)

2 TBS Fat Free Sour Cream (for those people who enjoy it, as garnish)

The Sandwich:

4 Thick Slices of Italian Bread

½ Yellow Onion

1 Plum Tomato, Halved

1 Eggplant, cut into medium thickness rounds

1 bag of baby spinach (more if you’re a spinach lover)

4 thick slices of fresh mozzarella

8 large Basil Leaves

4 cloves of Garlic, diced

2 TBS Olive Oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees; place all tomatoes on one baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place in the oven until soft. Roughly 20-30 minutes

On a separate sheet, place eggplant. Drizzle with olive oil and salt, cook until soft and slightly golden, roughly 20 minutes.

For the soup, place chopped onions, garlic and paprika in a pot with olive oil; heat until onions are soft. When tomatoes come out, take out the 2 halves needed for the sandwich and place the rest in the pot. Take an emersion blender (or chinoise) and blend the contents of the pot into a smooth liquid. Add stock and let simmer on low while making the sandwiches. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the sandwich, drizzle the bread with olive oil and sprinkle the garlic on it. Place in oven until crispy.

In the meantime, in a pan, add onion, olive oil and pinch of salt and sauté until tender. Then add spinach and cook until wilted.

When the bread is out, cover the top of each piece with the spinach and onion mixture, then layer eggplant, basil, mozzarella and tomato. Place back in oven and cook until cheese is melted.

Ladle the soup into a bowl and garnish, serve alongside sandwich and enjoy!

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