Every once in a while, I get the urge to make a great soup. As soon as the chill of fall hits and winter is on the way, that becomes fairly often. I have a few standbys – butternut soup, variations on minestrone, and chili. But this weekend I had the desire to branch out and try something different. Last time I did that, I had wonderful results. I remembered a ratatouille soup my mom used to make – it was actually a recipe we got from the Diet Workshop (before the days of Weight Watchers). I loved the large chunks of vegetables, especially the eggplant, so I started doing some searching for soups containing eggplant. I actually decided to go a different route, one that involved roasted, pureed eggplant, when I found such a recipe on Epicurious. It sounded great, but pretty simple, and for a Sunday evening dinner, I wanted it to be a little more hearty. I had some boneless lamb in the freezer, and thought it would be perfect to grind up and make some miniature lamb meatballs. And some orzo seemed appropriate too. This seemed to be shaping up like a Greek-spin on Italian wedding soup!
This turned out really well – the flavor of roasted eggplant in the soup was different than any other vegetable soups I’ve tried. The mini meatballs and orzo were great, however, I’m not sure I would bake the meatballs next time; the edges were a bit too crusty. Still though, the flavor was great and really complimented the eggplant. Finally, some goat cheese on top melted in to make a creamy, rich broth.
Roasted Eggplant Soup with Orzo and Mini Lamb Meatballs
Inspired by Bon Appetit, November 1997
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and halved lengthwise*
1 small onion, halved
1 head of garlic
salt & pepper
1-2 tsp or Greek seasoning blend, such as Penzey’s (an Italian seasoning blend would work well too)
6 cups low-sodium, fat free chicken broth
1 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
pinch of crushed red pepper
4 oz uncooked orzo