One afternoon I was leafing through a stack of Gourmet magazines, clipping recipes, sticking them in a loose-leaf notebook. Cream of Eggplant Soup ~ Brennan’s of Dallas was one of them. Two decades later, the restaurant is gone, so is the magazine–and I made Brennan’s soup for the first time. Tastes change–there are more vegetables and less cream in this version than the one I might have made following Brennan’s recipe exactly. But questions of proportions aside, eggplant, shallots, onions and celery combine very agreeably.
Cream of Eggplant Soup ~ Brennan’s of Dallas (for 10 people)
- 6 cups of peeled and cubed eggplant
- 1 and 1/2 cups of minced onion
- 1 and 1/2 cups of minced celery
- 1/4 cup of minced shallots
- 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
- 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) of butter
- 6 cups of chicken stock (The soup in the photo was made using 6 cups of water and two large Knorr’s Chicken Bouillon cubes.)
- 1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme, or the same amount of dried
- 1 Tablespoon of minced fresh basil
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon of curry powder (A Madras curry blend is in this soup.)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- A garnish for the soup (Small branches of fresh basil are the garnish in the photo.)
- A large kettle
- A large bowl or second kettle
- A food processor or blender
1. Melt the butter in a large kettle and cook the eggplant, onion, celery, shallots and garlic in it, stirring occasionally, until they are tender.
2. Add the stock (or water and bouillon cubes), the thyme, salt, and basil. Simmer the soup for about 30 minutes.
3. Pour the soup into a big bowl or another kettle and let it cool a little. (Keep the first kettle at hand for the blended soup mixture.) Blend the soup in batches in a food processor or blender, transferring it as you blend it back to the first kettle.
4. Add the cream and curry and heat the soup over low heat, stirring, to blend the flavours. It is better not to let the soup boil once you have added the cream.
5. Garnish the soup or, if you are not using it right away, store it in the refrigerator once it has cooled and reheat it without letting it boil.
A Note: Cream of Eggplant Soup ~ Brennan’s is the First Course in the Dinner Menu: A Welcome Dinner for an Out-of-Town Visitor who has Traveled Far. Grissini accompany the soup instead of bread in this menu:
© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011