I’m going out on a limb to say this: there is no good reason I can think of to eat soup from a can. Bleh. If you’re in the habit of making your own, you know what I mean. Homemade soup has so much more flavor, and there is a fraction of the salt and other badness that we don’t need, right? It really doesn’t take very long to whip up something like this. Give it a go. You’ll see.

I found my inspiration for this grown up version of tomato soup at Williams-Sonoma. I love that site not only for the beautiful food styling and photography, but I could browse endlessly through the recipes. My version strayed pretty far away from theirs. But I have to say, it is beyond yummy on a rainy, dreary fall day such as this. Pair this with a grilled, oh-so-gooey cheese sandwich, and you’ve got yourself a tasty dinner.

3-4 tb of olive oil (for brushing and sautéing)
2 large eggplants, peeled, and cut into 3/4 inch slices (don’t slice too thin)
2-3 carrots, cut into a small dice
2-3 tb olive oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
3/4 tsp minced fresh thyme (substitute dry if necessary)
3/4 to 1 cup of fruity, white wine
2 14 oz cans of chicken broth
1 tb pesto (If you have it. I use pesto in soup all the time. If you don’t have it on hand, no worries.)
8-10 small tomatoes on the vine, cut in half, and seeded
1 tsp of kosher or sea salt
6 slices of proscuitto, sliced paper thin for garnish
sour cream
1 tb butter

If you have a convection oven, the roast setting works perfectly for this recipe. If not, a standard bake setting will work fine too. Brush both sides of the eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Brush and sprinkle the tomato halves as well. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes, turning the eggplant once.

Meanwhile, saute the shallots and carrots in 1 tb olive oil in a large soup pot. Remove from the heat when the shallots are translucent. This only takes a couple minutes. When the vegetables are done roasting, remove from the oven. Coarsely chop the eggplant. Remove the skins from the tomatoes – they should just slide right off. Put the tomatoes and eggplant in the pot along with the chicken broth. Bring to a light boil for a minute or two, then reduce the heat. Stir in the thyme, pesto and wine. Season salt and pepper to taste.

This is where one of my essentials comes in: my immersion blender. This little puppy will have your soup pureed in a couple minutes flat. While still in the pot. This is as good as it gets. I left mine a little chunky, but that’s a matter of taste. I love how the flavors of pureed soups blend together.

After you’ve pureed the soup, heat a pan on medium, and then add the butter. Toast the proscuitto in the butter until it’s crisp. Then coarsely chop it and sprinkle on top of the soup. There. You have a little protein too.

Finish with a baby dollop of sour cream.