Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Anti-Vampire Soup

When I first took my job up in Santa Rosa, my first few thoughts were:
1. Where exactly is Santa Rosa in relation to the East Bay?
2. Isn't that where Guy Fieri lives?
The answers are:
1. Up above the North Bay
2. Yep!

After realizing that, I was just waiting for the opportunity to check out his restaurant, Johnny Garlic's, in Santa Rosa. As it turns out, the Windsor restaurant is closer, and my boyfriend took me there for lunch on my birthday back in April. I of course had to try the Roasted Garlic soup with my lunch, and was far from disappointed. The soup simply oozes garlic and I could have eaten another bowl or two instead of whatever it was I ended up eating for lunch. The soup was the clear winner of that meal!
I found the recipe on Food Network and we've made it a few times since. The biggest advice I have to make this a quick cooking weeknight meal is to roast the garlic the night before and pop it in the fridge. Then the rest of the soup comes together in around 30 minutes. Here's our version, adapted from
the original on Food Network:

Roasted Garlic Soup (4 servings; 356 calories per serving)

6 large whole heads garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper, divided
6 tablespoons Smart Balance Light spread
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
4 cups 99% fat free chicken stock
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 cup fat free half & half

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut the tops off the garlic heads just to expose the bulbs and remove any excess papery skins. Place in a large sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Close the foil around them, leaving a space between the tops and the foil, and place on a baking sheet in the oven. Roast until soft and fragrant, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove, cool, and squeeze out the garlic into a bowl.
In a large, heavy soup pot (preferably enameled cast iron) over medium-high heat, melt the Smart Balance, add the roasted garlic, and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the flour and cook until a dark golden roux is achieved, an additional 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 cup chicken stock, incorporate, and repeat until all the chicken stock had been added. Repeat with the water. Add the Italian seasoning, remaining salt and pepper, and stir to combine well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add in the half & half and cook for 10 minutes more at a very low simmer, stirring occasionally.

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