Sometimes I get a little too big for my britches. I concoct fanciful recipes in my head thinking they will come out fantastic and somehow catch the attention of Mark Bittman, who will beg me to be his apprentice. I usually have such thoughts while at my desk at work, which leads to furious scribbling of ingredients on post it notes. This is how this recipe started out…unfortunately, this is one time it should have stayed on a post it note.
No, your monitor is not having color issues. This soup is gray (side note: do you spell the color gray “gray” or “grey”…discuss amongst yourselves). It wasn’t meant to be gray; it was meant to be a rich, creamy color that would wow Mr. Bittman and thus lead to my fabulous life in New York cooking and writing along side the great one himself. And it probably would have been had I not thrown PURPLE potatoes into the mix. Why on Earth did I think purple potatoes would work nicely in this recipe? Uhmmm, honestly I can’t really tell you. I think the conversation in my head went something like this:
“Hmmm, there is a sale on mixed color potatoes in the Star Hollow Farm online market!”
“But we only need white colored potatoes for this recipe.”
“I can get THREE pounds of potatoes for five dollars! I’d have to pay way more for three pounds of strictly white potatoes!”
“But we plan on making one combined soup out of these potatoes. Won’t the purple throw off the color?”
“Nahhhh, it will be fine. The purple color will boil out and there’s like waaay more white potatoes that will overpower it.”
“Uhmmm, I don’t think it works that way.”
“Look, the purple potatoes photograph well and I have control of her hands and feet today, so I’m doing it!”
“Oooohhh, a shiny object!”
Yes, I lost an argument with myself because of a shiny object. And the soup was the one to suffer. The actual taste of the soup is quite good. The combination of smoky bacon, roasted garlic and shallots work well with the potatoes…the potatoes that should have been ALL white. But alas, I didn’t listen to myself and now my soup looks like prison food. Que Sera Sera!
Roasted Garlic Potato Soup
3 pounds WHITE potatoes (please, please use only white…learn from Shaw Girl’s mistake), cubed
3 slices bacon
4 whole garlic heads, roasted and cooled
3 medium sized shallots, diced
5 cups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup to 1 cup heavy cream (depending on how thick you like your soup)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place each individual garlic head in the center of a small square of aluminum foil (enough to completely cover the garlic head. Drizzle with olive oil and surround the garlic head in the foil (forming a packet). Place the garlic heads in the individual cups of a muffin tin and roast them for approximately one hour. Remove the tin from the oven and allow the garlic packets to completely cool before handling. Once cooled, squeeze out the roasted garlic pulp from each head into a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large Dutch oven, fry the bacon over medium heat. When crispy (but not burned), remove the bacon and place on a plate to cool to room temperature. Using the grease from the bacon, saute the shallots until softened. Add the potatoes, stirring them in to coat them in the lovely bacon grease. Add the chicken stock, parsley and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the salt and pepper to suit your tastes and cover the Dutch oven. Cook for 40-45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Take the Dutch oven off of the heat and add the roasted garlic pulp. Stir the soup to get the pulp to distribute evenly throughout the broth. Allow the mixture to cool. Working in batches, pour the soup into a food processor or blender and blitz until smoother (you may still have some chunks here and there). Repeat this step with the remaining batches of the soup. Once all the soup has been processed, place the Dutch oven back on the stove at medium heat. Add the heavy cream and allow the heat to warm the soup back up. Dish the soup out into bowls, topping each serving with some crumbled bacon.