My little girls and I are back in Maine now, enjoying a bit of east coast summer. Coming from a small town with a BIG family, it is very rare to have less than 10 people around the dinner table. To avoid spending all my time in the kitchen, I have really tried to stick with big batch cooking. Simple meals, few ingredients, made in advance and that feed MANY.
A couple days ago, I was able to get my hands on some lovely local tomatoes. Perfect for a big pot of creamy, warm soup. And when three unexpected extras arrived to join us at the table, all we had to do was add a bit of extra veggie broth and we were good to go. Sadly, no leftovers this time around.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread the tomatoes out evenly on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened and started to brown.
- In the meantime, warm the butter and remaining olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and onion, stirring occasionally until the onion starts to soften, about 8 minutes.
- Add the cumin, red pepper flakes and rice. Stir well and continue cooking for a minute or so. Add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil before lowering the heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes before removing from the heat.
- Puree the soup in a blender until you get a creamy consistency. You will most likely have to do this in batches to avoid overfilling the blender. Also, be sure to remove the cap in the lid of the blender and cover with a clean dish towel. This way, you avoid the steam causing the blender to explode.
- Return the soup to your stock pot. Season with salt & pepper and enjoy.