Although the days are gloriously spring-like at the moment, there are still evenings when I find a bit of winter comfort food, well, comforting. Warm soups, stews and casseroles are still very much on my menu, although occasionally I adorn them with a side salad as a nod to spring. I tend to be quite conservative with my soup making, just sticking to flavour combinations that I know and love (that would be any that involve ham…). However, occasionally, the mood for variation strikes me. This is my second attempt at a soup in which garlic takes a starring role. The first attempt was in my pre-blogging days and I only made it once, despite that fact that it was tasty – probably something to do with all the garlic that it involved and fear of having to be around other people in the week after eating it! Since making that first garlic soup, I have discovered the deliciousness that is roasted garlic and so, instead of just garlic and potato soup, this is roasted garlic and potato soup (well really roasted garlic and roasted potato soup, but that is a bit of a mouthful). This is very much a some, some and some recipe – although I give a list of ingredients, you’ll need to use your discretion with how much of each to use as I just used some of each as felt right. The cup measurement for the potatoes (before the enthusiasm for precision came to a rapid halt) was based on a 250 ml mug as equal to one cup. The basic soup below can be jazzed up by adding sour cream, milk or cream in place of some of the stock and by liberally sprinkling the soup with bacon, fried onions or spring onions and cooked mushrooms (as we did the second day we ate this soup…).
What you’ll need:
1 bulb garlic
7-8 cups of cubed potatoes (mine were about 1 inch cubes)
Few litres of vegetable stock
What to do:
1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5 (190º C or 375º F).
1. Toss the cubed potatoes in a liberal amount of olive oil and salt and the spread in a single layer in a roasting tin.
2. Toss the garlic bulb in (yet more) olive oil and then pop into the corner of the roasting tin with the potatoes.
3. Roast the potatoes and the garlic in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes, until the garlic is cooked and squishy to the touch. At this point, remove the garlic from the tin and put to one side, stir the potatoes around to make sure they cook evenly and pop the potatoes back into the middle of the pre-heated oven until they are done (about another 40 minutes, or longer if you want them really crisp and caramelised on the outside, but I was too impatient to wait for that).
4. Remove the potatoes from the oven when they are fully roasted and set to one side.
5. Dice the onion(s) and then fry them in a little bit more olive oil in a large pot until they are soft.
(Unfortunately, steam got in the way a bit in this photo – a recurring problem as you’ll see below…)
6. Cut the bottom (the bit with the fuzzy bits) off the bulb of garlic and squeeze the cooked garlic out of the bulb into the pot with the onions.
7. Add the potatoes to the pot and pour over the potatoes enough stock to cover them generously. Sprinkle pepper, thyme and (if you want to) more salt into the pot and put it back onto the heat.
8. Bring the stock in the pot to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
9. Remove the pan from the heat and blitz the potatoes, onions and garlic into the stock with a blender until it all reaches a smooth consistency.
10. Add more hot stock to the pan until the soup reaches your preferred consistency and then adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper and thyme to taste. At this point you could leave the soup to one side and just heat it up when you’re ready to serve.
11. When you’re ready to serve the soup, or straightaway if you’re hungry, put the pan of soup back on the stove to heat through thoroughly. Very good with fresh, warm bread on the side.