Do you live in the Northeastern US? Are you tired of the rain? Tired of being wet and cold? There is still enough time to make one last hot soup before the onset of spring. Lately, we all needed something that would warm us up a bit more. This soup does just that. It combines the classic flavors of roasted garlic, roasted potatoes, and cheese in a comfy and tasty soup.
The idea behind the soup was to cross several classic potatoes sides, namely, French Fries, garlic mashed potatoes and a baked potato and serve it up in a soup form. The essence of the French Fries come from oven roasting the potatoes. The roasted garlic brings in flavors reminiscent of garlic mashed potatoes. The baked potato served as our muse for the final garnish toppings. Feel free to add some bacon here. It would be delicious. We, unfortunately, were out.
Roasted Potato and Garlic Soup
2 heads of garlic
2 lbs baking potatoes
2 medium onions
3 tbls olive oil
1 tbls dijon mustard
1 tbls dried oregano
1 tbls water
2 tbls butter
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk or half-and-half
2-3 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped for garnish
4 oz colby jack cheese, shredded
2 tablespoon dry vermouth (optional)
salt and peppper to taste
First, roast the garlic. Remove the cloves from two heads of garlic, but leave the paper-like-peel on the cloves. Scatter the unpeeled cloves on a baking sheet with a rim. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of water and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt. Place in a 375F oven for about 30 minutes. The cloves are ready when they are tender to the touch. When cool enough to handle, take off the peels and set the garlic cloves aside.
Meanwhile, roast the potatoes. Scrub the potatoes well under running water. Cut the potatoes into 1″ cubes. Toss the cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the cubes on a baking sheet. Roast in a 425 oven for 45 minutes, flipping them all between 20 and 25 minutes.
While the potatoes are roasting, caramelize the onions. In a 10″ skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Peel and cut the onions in half. Cut slices from each half. Add the onions to the melted butter, season with salt and pepper. Cook low and slow for at least one hour (I let these go almost 3 hours). If the onions look like they are drying out too much, turn down the heat and add some liquid (a tablespoon or two) to plump up the onions a little bit. Liquids such as a dry white wine, dry sherry, or dry vermouth bring a nice flavor to onions. If you’re opposed to alcohol, use some chicken stock or water.
To Make Soup
In a stock pot, bring the stock to a simmer, add in the roasted garlic, the caramelized onions and most of the roasted potatoes (reserve about 1 cup of the roasted potatoes). Return the soup to a simmer and let the ingredients warm through, about 10-20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. If you don’t have a stick blender, working in the small batches, add to a blender and blend until smooth. Return the soup to low heat and add the half-and-half, stir and heat through.
Ladle the soup into soup bowls. Garnish each bowl with some of the reserved roasted potatoes, the chopped green onion, and shredded cheese.
This soup may seem like a lot of work, but much of it can be made in advance. The garlic and potatoes can be roasted and the onions can be caramelized and set aside in the fridge. Simply add them to the stock and heat through. Serves 4 as a hearty first course.