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Monday, February 18, 2013

Roasted Tomato Soup

If you love southwest-style soups, this one is amazing. We started making it last summer when my dad had a bumper crop of tomatoes and kept sharing with us. Remember that you might have to tweak ratios and cooking times because it's still a work in progress (as is pretty much every recipe we post here).

You'll need a large baking sheet, a soup pot, and a mixing bowl. Preheat the oven to about 350 degrees.

Start with ripe tomatoes (8-12, depending on size). a large onion, and 4-6 cloves of garlic. I suggest using all six of the garlic cloves. They'll be roasted so the flavor will be mild and less pungent. Alex thinks the small chunks of roasted garlic are the best part of the soup. You can add more if you really love garlic.
 Put a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Then chop the onion into large chunks. You can do the same with the garlic, but we cut it smaller because I'm not a fan of large pieces of garlic in my food, roasted or not. If you like garlic, leave the chunks about this size:
 Put the chopped onion and garlic in the bowl with the salted/peppered oil. Chop the tomatoes into similar sized pieces and add them, as well
Mix the chopped ingredients with the oil so they're well-coated, and spread the mixture on a baking sheet coated with non-stick spray. Place the sheet in the oven. You can set the timer for about 30 minutes, but I honestly don't know how long it takes. We just roast everything until the onions are starting to caramelize, the tomatoes are wilted, and the garlic is soft.

While everything is roasting, rinse two cans of beans and add them to your soup pot. One can needs to be black beans, but we use a different kind of bean for the second can, just for color and variety. Also, Alex believes the white beans are magic (yes, he's an adult--he still thinks they're magic).
Add one can of diced mild chilies, or a can of jalapenos if you prefer spiciness. Aaron doesn't like spicy, so we use the chilies. Then measure out about a half cup of quinoa (I use a couple of handfuls), or you can use rice if you don't keep quinoa on hand. It does change the taste a bit and quinoa is healthier, so I recommend using the latter.
Fill the pot with four cups of vegetable broth and one cup of water. Stir in a teaspoon and a half of chili powder and a half teaspoon of cumin. If you love cumin, add more. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let the mixture simmer until the roasted ingredients are done.
This is what they look like. You can see that the tomatoes still hold their shape but the onions have started turning golden brown. This is actually a deceptive photo because the flash lightened the onions, but if you look toward the top of the photo, you can see some blackening. Hopefully that will convince you that these really are well-done. Yeah. We did that on purpose. You don't have to.

When the quinoa is cooked (the pearls will be sort of transparent and have the consistency of al dente pasta and it takes about 15 minutes), add the roasted tomatoes, garlic and onions. Allow the soup to simmer for another fifteen minutes, at least (we prefer 25 minutes).

We serve this with a sprinkle of cheese and warm cornbread. Be sure to scatter cornbread crumbs near your glass when  you serve it, especially if you plan to take a picture and post it on  your blog.

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