Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Roasted Tomato and Fennel Soup

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I find summertime tomatoes to be so irresistible. They are ripe, plump and sweet. I found some really amazing tomatoes at my local market and I thought they would make a flavorful soup.
  • 5 large tomatoes (preferably ripened on the vine), quartered and seeded (reserve seeds)
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cored and sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato paste
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, cubed
  • 2 slices of bread (I used plain whole wheat bread), cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream (optional)
  • salt to taste
Place tomato chunks in an oven-proof dish and sprinkle with sugar. Roast tomatoes in 275 degree oven for 2 hours.

Sweat onion in olive oil until translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes, and then add minced garlic. Cook for another minute. Add sliced fennel and cook for another 10 minutes or until the fennel slices start to soften. Add butter and allow it to melt. Cook for another minute. Add reserved tomato seeds, roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stock, and bread slices. Cook until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Blend the vegetables together into a smooth soup using a regular blender or an immersion blender. Add cream if desired.

The soup is velvety but light. The bread and fennel give this soup some body and texture without adding heaviness. The cream makes it even more luxurious. The soup is also incredibly tomato-y. Roasting intensifies the tomato flavors and makes them extra sweet. This is definitely one of the best soups that I've made. I dare say it's better than some of the tomato soups that I've had at restaurants.

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