It all started at the mall. I was doing some holiday shopping last month and went into Nordstrom. There was a girl near the door handing out samples of the roasted garlic and potato soup that they were featuring that day in the café. I wouldn't normally accept a sample, but the smell was too wonderful to resist.
I happily slurped down my sample and headed straight for the café where I bought myself a big bowl-full. It was amazing! When I got home I immediately set out to recreate it, and I've already made it several times. This soup is all I want to eat these days! And I'm ok with that.
In this season of never-ending cookies, eggnog, fried appetizers and other cocktail party fare, it's a nice change of pace. Fast enough to make on a weeknight and elegant enough to serve as the first course of your holiday dinner, this soup is warm and comforting without being too heavy or weighing you down.
Using only one potato means the soup is a lot thinner than other potato soups tend to be. At the same time, that one potato adds a ton of flavor. It also thickens the soup the perfect amount to allow you to use milk instead of cream, helping to keep calories down while still achieving a velvety mouthfeel. A healthy dose of garlic will also help ward off winter colds.
The soup is also very cheap and incredible easy to make. Which means you can get back to baking those cookies, wrapping those presents or (could it be?) actually relax a little this holiday season.
Don't be scared of the amount of garlic that this recipe calls for. Roasting takes away its sharpness and intensifies its sweetness, giving it a delicate, almost floral taste.
Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup
1 head garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbs butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
3 cups chicken stock
1 large white potato, peeled and diced
1 inch cube parmesan or small piece of parmesan rind
1 cup milk
Heat the oven to 400°F. Slice the top off your garlic and place on a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil, and wrap foil up around it. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the cloves are very soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Melt the butter in the bottom of a saucepan. Add onion and thyme to the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 5 minutes).
Add the stock and potato. Squeeze half the garlic cloves out of their skins and into the soup. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until potato is very soft.
Use an immersion blender to blend the soup. Return to heat and stir in the milk. Cook until just heated through.
Taste and season with additional garlic or salt as desired. Divide between serving dishes and top with chives.
• See more 2009 Holiday Guest Posts here
(Images: Lauren of Healthy Delicious)