Monday, January 05, 2009

Soup weather

Tonight's Menu

  • potato soup w/roasted garlic and kale
  • rustic peasant bread
Our CSA gave us a big bunch of kale recently so I thought I'd use it up in a soup, especially since the weather today was cold and yucky. This was totally an experiment, by the way, but it turned out great!

Earlier in the day, I roasted a whole head of garlic. I actually had to look up how to do this because I tend to be kind of an idiot when it comes to the basics. In case you're also basics-impaired, here's how I did it: peel the outside paper off of a head of garlic (leaving the paper on the individual cloves), cut off the top with a serrated knife so the tops of the cloves are exposed, put it on a sheet of foil, drizzle over some olive oil, wrap the clove in foil and place it on a pan of some sort (to catch drips, just in case), then put it in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes. If I'd known it was so easy, I'd have been roasting buttloads of garlic all this time!

Anyhoo, if you do that ahead of time you can just let the garlic cool and then stick it in the fridge. To prepare the soup, I chopped two ribs of celery and a large carrot, then peeled and diced about five smallish russet potatoes. (I only just realized that we've been eating a lot of potatoes lately. Not sure what that's about, but hey, they're cheap! And full of potassium and stuff!) I put the veggies in a big pot and squeezed in the roasted garlic cloves from earlier (they slip right out of their skins), then added some vegetable stock to cover the veggies, along with a bit of fresh thyme and some freshly ground pepper. Then I just let it simmer until the veggies were tender.

While everything was simmering, I washed and trimmed a bunch of kale and chopped it up. When the veggies were tender, I used my immersion blender to de-chunkify the soup. You could also just pour the soup into a blender or food processor and then pour it back into the pan. Or heck, leave it chunky, if that's your thing! At this point I added the kale so it could wilt down. Then I adjusted my seasonings, adding more salt and pepper and tasting as I went.

At this point the soup was basically ready so I decided to make a garnish of sorts. All I did was chop up some nice, thick, smoky bacon (Pederson's apple smoked, of course) and crisp it up in a skillet. Then I removed the bacon to paper towels to drain and tossed some fresh sage leaves, which had been washed and VERY thoroughly dried, into the hot bacon fat so they'd fry and get crispy. I quickly removed those and let them drain as well. To assemble, just ladle out some soup and top with the crispy bacon and a couple of sage leaves.

This was really good! The bacon and sage kind of made the whole dish, though, which made me wish I'd just added those at the beginning! Oh well, live and learn.

The bread was purchased at the store and heated up in the oven. I totally forgot to make bread dough today! That's on the to-do list for tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds yummy. I love Pederson's bacon too---just made pasta y fagioli with it last night. Easy dinner (w/ side salad) the whole crew loves.