Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Summer Soup Rules!

I admire my sister for buying ingredients that she doesn't know what to do with. I come from a long line of good cooks and, the fun part, is that we all have our own styles, our own favorites and our own special techniques. Pop can look in the fridge and make an amazing meal out of any and every kind of leftovers. Granny makes a leg of lamb that you could die for. My grandmother made gravy that was like liquid roast beef. Interestingly, she taught us all the technique to make it but it has taken me a lifetime to get even close to what she could do.

So I was up at Sissy's house the other day and she had a package of tomatillos on the counter. This is not an ingredient that is an everyday event around our houses and I commented on it. She, quite kindly I think, said "I don't know what the hell to do with them. You take 'em and come up with something good." (I have to add that this is very different than what she said to me when I poked my nose in a pan of string beans she was sauteing.)

And so I give you (drum roll please):

Roasted Tomato and Tomatillo Soup

1/2 lb. tomatillos with the papery husks removed
2 to 2.25 lbs. plum tomatoes
1/2 a softball sized red onion (or the equivalent of smaller onions)
1 3 -4 inch jalapeno pepper
olive oil
kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
3 cups chicken stock (this really doesn't need to be the good stuff)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Halve the tomatillos and the tomatoes. Cut the red onion into 4 wedges. Halve the jalapeno and remove most (but not all of the seeds).

Spread the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle them liberally with olive oil and season them liberally with the salt and pepper.

Put the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and turn the temperature on to 400 degrees (no need to preheat for this).

After 30 minutes, give the vegetables a nice mix in the sheet. They will be soft but will hold their shape. Continue to roast for another 15 - 30 minutes (45 to 60 minutes total). Start checking them after 15 minutes. When they are soft enough to collapse, they are done.

Let the vegetables cool for a few minutes and then add them, with all their juices to the jar of your blender. Puree them until they are smooth and then add the chicken broth through the feed tube until the soup is the consistency you like (remember--if you're going to serve this as a cold soup it will be thicker than when it is heated).

Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and blend for just a few seconds to mix.

Serve this either hot or cold.

Damn. I've got to tell you this came out so good! And the roasting vegetables made the house smell amazing. Although there is very little seasoning in this, the flavors really shine through and linger and develop on your palate. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can use vegetable stock and leave out the heavy cream (I just like a little decadence in it).

I happen to like my soup in a wide, shallow bowl. I'm thinking some really sharp cheddar on 7-grain bread under the broiler for a few minutes until it's nice and browned would be perfect with this. I think I'll cut it up into fingers and pour the soup in a shallow layer around it.


vevette said...

It sounds great and I will make it for Joe. I can't tell him that it contains tomatillos so let that be out secret please? Thank you Karen for a great recipe.

Stephanie said...

This soup looks amazing. I'm going to give it a shot the next time some tomatillos show up in the veggie box. I never know what to do with them.

Marie-Jolie said...

How can you beat roasted tomatillos? Mmm.... sounds delish!