EGGPLANT MUSHROOM SOUP W/ GOAT YOGURT (GLUTEN FREE)

I must look like a crazy person staring at the produce in the market. I'll just space our for five or ten minutes brainstorming all of the possibilities of the veggies in front of me -- what will and won't work, what resources I have at home, what I'm craving, what will be cheapest and most satisfying. Is this what everyone does at market?

I get especially into it during the Summer, with all of the gorgeous produce flooding the farmers market tables. Logan and I try to eat seasonally, so tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and peppers end up in almost every dish -- along with new garlic and onions. Luckily we met a woman who has goats producing lots of milk this season. We've been eating fresh raw goat chèvre and raw goat feta for a couple of months now. It's been a really special experience for us. I feel like we truly appreciate the bounty we've been given, especially after having fasted from animal products for almost two years. We eat very small amounts of animal products now, mostly according to what we feel our bodies need. 

Up until this past week, Logan and I had never tried homemade yogurt. Actually, neither of us have had any dairy yogurt in quite a long while. Well, conversion complete. I will never buy store bought yogurt -- dairy or non-dairy -- ever again. This yogurt was made from raw goat milk, rich in the enzymes necessary to break down milk sugars and proteins. I can only guess at the nutritional difference in raw yogurt and pasteurized yogurt, though I can say fresh homemade yogurt is definitely rich in the probiotics and prebiotics that your body needs for healthy digestion. The flavor is certainly far superior. This raw goat milk yogurt tastes sweet and fresh, with none of the musky goat flavor oft attributed to the milk itself. It's a treat we've been basking in this week. It imparts a creamy, slightly tangy flavor to this soup. 

For some reason this dish really reminds me of Castilian garlic soup or Sopa de Ajo. Castilian soup is basically a garlic-heavy ham-broth with huge pieces of crusty bread and bits of egg -- sometimes boiled, chopped egg, sometimes poached, broken eggs swimming in the broth. I was craving something mediterranean, but the yogurt, egg, garlic, and bread all remind me of Northern Spain. This is what happens when I synthesize a craving for eggplant with memories of Galician soups.

Note: I ate this soup with lots of (wheat-free) bread soaked into the broth, and it was delicious. This is just my preference, as it is very close to the way Sopa de Ajo is prepared. I also dropped the eggs straight into the soup, though it looks much prettier placed on top. Last thing, make sure your broth has cooled down below 160 degrees before adding the yogurt, or you'll destroy the beneficial cultures. I know raw goat yogurt is hard to find, but any probiotic-rich, homemade yogurt will do. 



Eggplant Mushroom Soup w/ Goat Milk Yogurt
serves 2 generously
Ingredients
2 cups globe or chinese eggplant, peeled and chopped
1 onion, sliced thinly into rounds
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup white wine (I used Viognier)
1 tsp sea salt, more to taste
two tablespoons fresh rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme
4 tbsp whole coriander seeds, pummeled in mortar
2 cups fresh goat milk yogurt
juice of one lemon
3 cups water
2 eggs
garnish:
goat feta (chevretine)
fresh cracked pepper
sprig rosemary
lemon peel
toasted bread or crostini (I used Sami's wheat free sourdough)
Directions
Sautee onion on medium high for 10 minutes, until it starts to caramelize. Add garlic. Allow onion to become slightly burned -- this adds a sweet bitterness to the mix. Once garlic is browned, add eggplant, mushrooms, sea salt, and white wine. Cover and cook on medium low 10 minutes. Add water, rosemary, thyme, coriander, lemon juice and simmer 10 to 20 minutes. Once cooked, let cool 10 minutes before stirring in the goat milk yogurt. 
While the soup is cooking, poach 2 eggs. 
To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with crusty bread, goat feta, a poached egg, and black pepper. 
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