A simple bowl of Roasted Garlic Potato Soup is just the type of meal I begin to crave once Christmas is over and we await the New Year to come in; it's warm and comforting, with just the right amount of coziness, perfect for those days between the holidays.
I've always felt that those days between Christmas and the New Year are such a unique time.
The twinkle and sparkle of Christmas is over, but we anticipate more celebration as we count down the last remaining days of the year that we just experienced.
It's during this week between Christmas and the New Year that it truly begins to dawn on me just how quickly the year has flown by, and that I now stand on the precipice of a brand new one, one full of possibilities, hope, progress, and growth, yet also, so much unknown.
It also really hits me just how much has happened, and how much we've lived through, both positive and challenging.
Those days between the two holidays are a time when I begin to prepare myself for the pace and the look of life once the glitz and the shimmer of the holiday has past, and start to search my heart and soul for what I would like to tackle, to experience, and to accomplish in the brand new year ahead.
It's also a bitter-sweet time when I know that only in a matter of days, “good-byes” will have to be exchanged after spending the holidays with our son, a Marine, as we all will have to go back to life as usual, and be left wondering what next year's holidays will look like for us, as far as being together again.
Ah, the days between Christmas and the New Year…
They're not necessarily the easiest days for many, as we realize that the magical time that we've had will soon be over and life will go back to “business as usual”.
And then, of course, after all of the wonderful and decadent offerings on the Christmas dinner table (not to mention Thanksgiving just a few weeks before that), I begin to long for something a bit more simple-yet-still-warming-and-comforting, something nourishing but basic such as this Creamy Roasted Garlic Potato Soup with little crispy croutons sprinkled over top, to warm my belly and sooth my soul from within.
It's comfort of the healthier and slightly lighter variety, yet still completely filling and perfect for combatting the cold outside, and for mellowing any “blues” during those in-between-the-holiday days when we realize that we'll have to wait another year to experience the taste of the sweetness of what we just experienced.
Ah, well… Such is life!
We cannot hold time still, we cannot bask only in the glimmer and shimmer of a moment of celebration.
It's in those days between the holidays that we slowly begin to prepare to take life back to how it was before all the decorations and lights came up, before we drank too much eggnog and ate too many peppermint-flavored sweet things.
They remind us of just how quickly time, indeed goes by, while also giving us the opportunity to celebrate one more time before the year is over, and to reflect a little and be grateful for all that we have been given.
That unique time between Christmas and the New Year isn't like any other time of the year; it somehow has the flavor of both the past and the future in it, of potential and of what actually is, and has both a sweetness and an ever-so-slight bitterness to it that makes for a wonderfully rich and complex quality to have the privilege of savoring.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Creamy Roasted Garlic Potato Soup with Crispy Buttery Croutons
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 6
• 3 whole heads garlic, plus 2 cloves pressed through garlic press, divided use
• Olive oil
• Black pepper
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 large onion, diced
• ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
• 1 teaspoon Herb de Provence
• 6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (roughly 2 ½ pounds)
• 4 cups chicken stock, hot
• 1 cup half and half
• ¼ cup sour cream
• Buttery Croutons (recipe below)
• Chives, minced for garnish
-Preheat oven to 400°.
-Cut the tops off of the three heads of garlic, drizzle with a touch of olive oil, plus a sprinkle of salt and black pepper, and wrap each head tightly in foil; roast for 45 minutes, then once cool enough to handles, squeeze the roasted cloves from their papers and set aside.
-Place a large pot over medium-high heat, and add in the butter and the oil; once melted together, add in the onion, plus a pinch of salt and black pepper, the white pepper and the Herbs de Provence, and saute for about 3-4 minutes until translucent; next add in the two, pressed garlic cloves, plus the reserved roasted garlic, and stir those in.
-Add in the cubed potatoes and the chicken stock and stir to combine, and bring to the boil; cover and simmer the soup for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
-Off the heat, use an immersion blender (or use a regular blender, but take care to work in batches as soup is very hot) to puree the soup completely, until smooth; add in the half & half, plus the sour cream, and use the immersion blender once more to incorporate those. (The soup should be velvety and creamy.)
-Check to see if any additional salt/pepper is needed, and serve the soup with some Buttery Croutons, plus a sprinkle of chives, if desired.
Buttery Croutons Ingredients:
• 4 ounces French baguette, small cube
• ¼ cup unsalted, melted butter
• ¼ teaspoon granulated onion
• ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
• Black pepper
-Preheat the oven to 425°, and line a baking sheet with foil.
-Toss the cubed bread with the butter, the granulated onion and garlic, plus a couple of pinches of salt and pepper; turn out onto the baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp.
-Store any unused croutons in a ziplock bag (can be re-toasted in a toaster oven, as well.)