Who doesn't like soup?
No seriously, is there anyone who on a cold winter's evening doesn't like to sit down to a warm bowl of hearty soup? Do you actually know someone who is a hearty soup hater? What is wrong with them? We really need to have a talk and they really NEED to try this soup. I might not be able to call trying this soup a moral imperative but it comes pretty doggone close.
What kind of soup is this?
This is a end of the week haven't been to the grocery store type of soup;
It is a holiday so the store is closed and the pantry is bare type of soup;
I'm too lazy to go shopping, what have we got in the house type of soup;
We are eating down the pantry/refrigerator type of soup.
It is a bare bones type of soup without the actual bones part of that statement;
A couple of heads of garlic, half dozen russet potatoes, an onion and cup of milk, it is all about the technique type of soup.
OMG, the prep time is horrendous this must be hard to make, oh that wasn't so bad type of soup.
Potato and Roasted Garlic Soup*
2 heads whole garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
6, 7 or 8 mediumish russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 cups vegetable broth or water
2 bay leaves
1-1/4 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat over to 400 degrees. Cut off a tiny bit of the tops (the pointy end. The other end is the root end. Important information for later) of each of the head of garlic. You want to exposed the cloves. Place on a piece of aluminum foil, root side down. Drizzle with olive oil. Seal the foil around the garlic to make a package. Bake until soft, about 40 to 50 minutes. To check for doneness, open up the foil, careful it's hot, and stick a fork in the cloves. If there is no give they are done. Pull from the oven and let cool. While you have your oven on this would be a great time to bake/roast some vegetables to use in the coming week. The garlic smell would only add flavor. Baking cookies? Not such a great idea. Just an eco-friendly FYI.
2. While the garlic is roasting or cooling mince your onion and large chop your potatoes. Cook, in a large stock pot, the onion in the butter until soft, about 10 minutes on medium. Add the potatoes, vegetable stock (or water if you don't have stock. Stock just brings a huge flavor factor to the party so keeping it in the pantry or freezer is an excellent idea) and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer. Cover and gently simmer until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Throw them away. Don't feel bad, you've got out all the goodness and they won't feel a thing.
3. Extract the cloves from the papery outside of the garlic head by grabbing it from the bottom (root end) and squeezing it gently out of the papery stuff into a bowl. Mash cloves with a fork. Toss the garlic into pool. Now, it's swimmin' with the potatoes. Somehow that metaphor doesn't translate well.
4. Now, you can do this next part a couple of different ways. You could transfer batches to a blender or food processor to grind up until smooth. Or, you can use one of those handy dandy stick blenders. Or, if your stick blender decided to go to that great stick blender heaven in the sky like mine did, you can take out your potato masher and mash it up. This way leaves some lovely potato chunks. That's my story.
5. Add milk. Reheat. Give it a taste. Got enough salt? Pepper? Add a bit if needed. It won't need too much salt unless you used unsalted butter. This is also when you are going to gauge if it is thick enough. I used skim milk so mine was a little thin for my liking. To thicken, I mashed together 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour until it was a smoothish paste. Then mix it into the hot soup. Stir it around until it melts. To thin, add a little more milk.
6. Garnish with chives, maybe a little cheddar cheese. You had to know I'd get cheese in there somewhere. Add salad and hearty bread for a complete meal.
Serves: The recipe says it serves six but I have to think that those six just don't like soup. Which I've determined above means there is possibly something wrong with them. If this is your meal it will serve 3, possibly 4 max. A starter, maybe 6.
Prep & cooking time: somewhere around an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Depends on how organized you are.
Disclaimer: This is not diet food. So if one of your resolutions this year was to lose weight, HA, don't try this soup. Or at least not in this incantation. You could substitute the butter for olive oil or you could use skim milk instead of whole (which is what I did but then ruined the whole thing by mixing a little butter and flour to thicken it up) or you could eat smaller helpings of soup and a larger helping of salad (yeah right) or you could do what I am going to do. Don't sweat it and hit the gym 1 extra hour this week.
*this recipe has been adapted from a copy of Williams-Sonoma New American Cooking cookbook. I made it vegetarian and decreased the amount of milk and increased the amount of garlic, stock, and bay leaf. I also fussed around with the cooking times and methods. Does that still make it their recipe? Oh, and their recipe called for 2 pounds of potatoes. Who measures potatoes like that? I've got a half of a 5 pound bag, is that close enough? I don't keep a scale in my kitchen. I leave that to my closet where it will stay...Thank.You.Very.Much.
Anyhoo, I hope you'll give this a try. I'm going to have to go to the store now because I used up all my potatoes and onion. The potatoes I can live without for a week but no onion? No way!