Mixed-Up Soup

Ingredients

1 teaspoon salt
1 pound diced eggplant
5 tablspoons olive oil
1 onion, diced 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 ounce drid porcini mushrooms, broken into small pieces
1/4 reaspoon oregano
1/4 reaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound tomatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups Chicken Stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions

Serves 6

Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the salt over the eggplant, place in a colander with a plate and a 1-pound weight on top and let drain for 15 minutes.

In a large stockpot, cook the olive oil, onion, garlic, dreid porcini, oregano and red pepper flakes, stirring often on medium heat until the onions start to sizzle, about 3 minutes. Cover and reduce to a slow simmer for 5 minutes.

Pat the effplant pieces dry with a towl. Raise the heat to medium-high, uncover the stockpot and add the eggplant, stirring well for about 3 minutes. Add all of the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook, stirring every 10 minutes, for 1 hour . I find that if I place the cover on the pot and crack it open a bit for the first 25 munutes, the soup tastes a little bit better.

Place 3 cups of the soup in a blender and puree it to a smooth paste. Stir it back into the soup and simmer for 30 more minutes.

Please take a moment to thank Maria Rosa and enjoy your bowl of soup.



Chef's Tip:

When you use the blender to process hot liquids, secure the top firmly in place. Hold it down with a towel and start by pulsing on and off. Open the top to release the steam, then resecure the lid and pulse your way to a cream. Be very careful of the steam which can force off the lid if not released.