Perfect with crackers, or just a blanket and a comfy chair
Photography: Paulette Phlipot
Roasted tomato soup with polenta croutons and basil aioli from the former Full Moon Steakhouse in Bellevue.
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Break out the cozy flannel, the fuzzy slippers and the deepest, roundest bowls and biggest spoons you’ve got. It’s the season that made “M’m!M’m!Good!” a national mantra.
Soups have universal appeal. Every culture has its specialty. They are nutritious, affordable and easy to make. It’s a sneaky way to get your kids to eat their veggies, and the healing qualities of soup are legendary – if not proven.
“Historically, soups have been the staple of inns and roadhouses where people arrive tired and hungry,” says Galena Lodge proprietor Don Shepler. “It’s easy to eat, warms you up and nourishes you.”
ROASTED TOMATO SOUP
Nine years ago, long before Bellevue was considered a spot for foodies, Brian and Sue Ahern established the to-die-for Full Moon Steak House. They offer great salads and soups to tide you over until your steak is cooked to perfection. The Aherns provided us with this recipe to try at home.
This can also be made ahead and will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
4 ounces fresh basil leaves, stems removed
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 small shallot, peeled
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
12 ounces olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, combine everything but the oil and salt and pepper. Process until totally smooth. Add oil with the motor running in a slow steady stream until aioli becomes thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
These really should be started the day before, or the morning of, because the polenta needs to cool before it can be made into croutons.
1 cup of stone ground polenta
3 cups of water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Put water in a small soup pot with salt and bring to a rolling boil. Add polenta gradually in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to whisk until the polenta becomes thick. Trade the whisk in for a wooden spoon and continue to cook over low heat until the polenta comes away from the sides of the pan (about 30 minutes). Stir in the cheese and transfer mixture into a 9x9 glass pan that has been sprayed with nonstick pan spray. Cover with plastic wrap pressed firmly to the surface and refrigerate until cool.
Turn the pan upside down on a cutting board and give it a thump. It should fall right out. Cut the polenta into 1/2 inch cubes and toss in a bowl with the olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Transfer onto a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes, until golden around the edges.
2 cups yellow onions,
1 cup carrots, peeled, medium dice
1 cup celery, medium dice
8 cloves peeled garlic
16 Roma tomatoes, ends trimmed off and cut in half
4 ounces extra virgin olive oil
8 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
• Toss all the vegetables and olive oil in a large bowl and sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan and roast in a 425 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours, or until all the veggies are nice and dark (not burned, but caramelized), stirring every so often.
• Add 2 cups of the stock to the pan while it is still in the oven and give it a couple of good stirs and scrapes; you want all the flavor and little bits off the bottom of the pan.
• Transfer the contents of the pan into a large soup/stock pot and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a medium simmer for about 20 minutes.
• Allow soup to cool and process in a food processor or blender using a slotted spoon or strainer to transfer the solids, then adding liquid gradually. Puree until very silky smooth.
• Ladle soup into serving bowls, float a nice tablespoon of basil aioli and a few polenta croutons.
Full Moon Steak House
118 S. Main St., Bellevue