Vegan Aubergine-Garlic Soup

I think I’ve already expressed my deep love towards aubergines, haven’t I? But now, when the barbecue season is over and soup season is coming, why not utilize this marvelous vegetable’s complex flavors to make a warm, comforting, creamy soup?

The basic idea behind the recipe is a traditional Andalusian cold soup called Ajo Blanco (or white garlic) but topping it with the inner parts of a soft burned aubergine, and of course keeping it warm.

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We will start with the aubergines. three medium-large ones, try to buy the firm and light ones,  it means their seeds are not yet developed, which will later taste better. If you have a grill – use it. You can light some coals and let the aubergine grill, keep on turning it around until completely soft. You can also do that in the oven, but then you’ll miss the great smokey scent. In that case warm your oven to maximum, pole the aubergines with a knife several times to prevent them from exploding and send in to be baked. flip some times, they will be ready in around 30-40 minutes.

After the aubergines will turn soft, peel then and leave in a coarse sieve, to allow the liquids drain. These liquids are what keeps the aubergine bitter, once they’re gone, you will enjoy it more.

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In the meanwhile, heat a heavy pot over the lower flame you have. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, minced one head of garlic (entire head, not one knob) and 6-7 chopped sage leaves. Leave on the low flame for at least 10-15 minutes, allow slow simmer but don’t let the garlic change its color, otherwise it will turn bitter and we want it to react with the oil.

After around 10 minutes of simmering, your entire kitchen will smell like garlic. Then, increase the flame and add 1/3 cup of white wine, and mix well. Then, add almonds. 1/2 cup of bleached almonds, crushed to powder. Mix well. Then your pot will have a simmering white liquid that will be the base of your soup for later.

Now you will take the aubergines out of the sieve, and add to the pot. crush the aubergine with a wooden spoon and stir well. Gradually add 1 liter of vegetable stock (or just water, but stock will enrich your final soup) and bring to boil. Leave on a medium flame for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and crush with a blender. Take off the flame.

Wait an hour for the flavors to connect before serving. The patience will be worth it. Serve with a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper and a dash of olive oil.

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