This silky smooth puree is deeply satisfying on its own, but would be a perfect starter for any meal. Roasted garlic helps to cut down on the sharp pungency, but don’t let that fool you. Also included in this puree is an entire bulb of fresh garlic as well. The fresh garlic will get a short spa treatment in melted butter, just long enough to soften the flesh and dull the pungency. We want the garlic soft, but not brown at all. Browned garlic is burned garlic. And that isn’t good eating in anyone’s book.
Our choice of potato also affects the final product. For this recipe, we’ll be using Yukon Golds. When cooked, they have a dense, creamy texture, unlike russets which drier and more mealy. This is a good thing if you want the perfect baked potato, but if you want an incomprehensibly smooth soup, Yukon Gold is the spud to use. Because their skins are so thin, Yukons are usually used whole without peeling in many recipes. But we want a finished texture that resembles silk, so we’ll be peeling these potatoes first.
No matter how carefully we blend this soup, there will always be small lumps. Lumps of roasted garlic, lumps of firmer sautéed garlic, lumps of potatoes that managed to evade the whirling blades of the blender. As such, we’ll be pressing the finished soup through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps. Lest you worry that what doesn’t make it through the strainer is inedible, rest assured it’s perfectly edible and just as tasty. Save it as a creamy smashed potato side for another meal if you prefer.
Blending presents its own dilemma. Hot liquids in a blender with a lid need to be carefully handled. A folded towel and firm pressure on the lid will usually keep everything in the blender carafe, but it can be dangerous and messy. An immersion blender, what we prefer to use in hot soups, stews and sauces, is clumsy and incomplete here simply because there is so little liquid compared to the potatoes. Choose whichever option you feel the most comfortable with.
Since this puree was served as its own meal, we paired it with a tangy apple, walnut and roasted garlic crostini. The light, crisp apple countered the creamy, smooth texture perfectly. The potato puree is so thick that the crostini can be whimsically placed on top or left off to the side. Whimsicality aside, placing the crostini in the puree does make it a bit more difficult to eat. It’s too crusty to break apart with a spoon and needs to be eaten with your fingers. If it has been sitting on the puree, it’s going to get a bit messy, so keep this in mind when plating.
If the chill of fall is seeping through your shutters, a warm bowl of soup, especially one so decadent, is only a half an hour away.
Creamy Roasted Garlic and Potato Puree
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled and finely minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 2 bulbs of garlic, roasted
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- finely ground salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Melt the butter in a large sauce pan or stock pot over medium heat. Sweat the fresh minced garlic until it’s tender but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes, herbs and 1 bulb of roasted garlic. Bring the soup to a simmer, and simmer uncovered until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the herbs and discard. Blend the soup, in batches if necessary. It will be very thick. Return the blended soup to the pan. Add the whipping cream and heat until it is heated through. Season to taste.
Press the soup through a fine mesh sieve, removing any unblended lumps.
While the soup is simmering, prepare the crostini.
Apple Walnut and Roasted Garlic Crostini
- 1 crisp sweet-tart apple such as a Honeycrisp or SweetTango, cored, diced and sprinkled with a teaspoon of lemon juice to prevent browning
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 3-4 cloves of roasted garlic (about 1 tablespoon)
- 12 slices French baguette ½-inch thick
Brush the baguettes with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with coarse salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Toast in a 400°F oven until just brown, about 4 minutes. Puree the walnuts, garlic, vinegar and 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil until the smooth. Spread the garlic mixture over the baguette and top with apple dices.