I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Roasted Garlic Soup

Roasted Garlic Soup

Winter is all about soup. I could eat a nice, steaming bowl of warming soup every day in the chilly months. A cup of summer tomato soup from the freezer for lunch with a simple sandwich, a hearty bowl with chunky bread and a good salad for dinner, even a little mug of leftover as an afternoon snack. And this roasted garlic version is particularly comforting. It’s the perfect soup when you are beset by the sniffles or chilled by the winter wind. When I feel that tickle in my throat that forebodes a cold, I find I can make this without too much effort and have it on hand to get me through.

Mellow roasted garlic is brilliantly set off by its allium cousins – leeks, onion and green onion add depth and dimension. And this soup can handle any manner of toppers. Simple croutons, crispy bacon, a swirl of olive oil, a dollop of crème fraiche, a sprinkling of herbs; let your imagination run.

Roasted Garlic Soup

I take no issue at using the peeled garlic available at many stores. Just make sure it is as fresh as possible.

25 peeled clove of garlic, from about 2 heads

2 medium leeks, white parts only

1 small white onion

3 large green onions, white and lightest green part only

7 cups of chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Place the garlic in a large, oven-proof Dutch oven (about 5 quarts). Slice the leeks in half, rinse them under running water, cut into chunks and add to the pot. Cut the onions into chunks and add to the pot, then the green onions cut into pieces. Salt them lightly, then pour in 2 cups of chicken broth and stir. Place the pot in the oven, uncovered. Roast the vegetables for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until everything is soft and mushy and the liquid is reduced. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a few minutes.

Transfer the vegetables and liquid to a blender and add 1 cup of chicken broth. You may want to do this in batches. Very carefully purée the soup. Leave the hole on the cover of the blender open, but hold it down with a tea towel. Hot liquids tend to send the cover flying. Wipe out the pot. Pour the purée through a strainer and scrape as much substance through it as possible. Discard any leftover bits. Stir in the remaining 4 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream and whisk to combine. Cook gently until the soup is warmed through.

The soup will keep, covered, in the fridge for two days. Reheat gently to serve, do not boil.

Serves 6

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