My inbox and homepage are set-up to deliver new recipes to me each day and (God help me) I read them all. Thus, I was inspired to make a Tomato-Basil soup which called for roasting carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and chickpeas for 30 minutes before adding
to the tomato/broth mixture. Well! roasted veggies are always promising, and how could the addition of the chickpeas go wrong?
Well ... nothing went wrong, but nothing went unusually right either. In fact, it turned out to be the most boring soup I've made this season. The only way to perk it up is to top it with cheese and croutons, which makes it seem better than it really is
when left to its own devices.
I'm trying to understand why roasting the veggies (and chickpeas) didn't make a bigger difference. There should be a smoky-like flavor to it, and there isn't. Maybe I needed to roast the veggies until they turned brown (contrary to the directions, but
I'm thinking I'd have been wiser to let them get almost crispy).
The chickpeas give the soup a creamy flavor (sort of), but not enough to fully offset the acidic undertone of the tomatoes. In the end, I got a Tomato-Basil soup which tastes pretty much like every other Tomato-Basil soup I've eaten, which prompts the
obvious: can one Tomato-Basil soup recipe really be all that much better than another?
The recipe itself was pretty easy:
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2" bits
2 celery stalks, cut into 2" bits
2 medium onions, quartered
8 cloves garlic, skin removed
2 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
8 c. chicken broth (I use Swanson's Organic)
2 large cans (28 oz) diced tomatoes (I used the boxed Pomi diced)
4 stalks fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/4 c. fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400°
Toss the first 5 ingredients together to coat the veggies/chickpeas, then place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with ground pepper. Let cook for 30 minutes, stirring now and then.
Meanwhile, combine the chicken broth, tomatoes, and bay leaves and let simmer.
When veggies are done roasting, add to the tomato/broth mix and simmer (with lid on) for 45 minutes.
Remove bay leaves and rosemary stalks. Add fresh basil.
With an immersion blender, blend until smooth.
Taste. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Isn't the above more or less the same recipe as every other Tomato-Basil soup recipe, except for the addition of chickpeas instead of cream?
Hubby's not enthused about the results and I can't say I am either. On the other hand, it's possible I'm not all that fond of Tomato-Basil soup in the first place. The results are edible, so — in all good faith — I can't toss it out. But I'm tempted to
add balsamic vinegar, or white wine, or half a cup of Feta to make it more palatable. In any case, I won't be trying this again unless one of you has a recipe that's really and truly head and shoulders above the rest.