02 April 2009

Babe's Country Cookbook

I admit it. Babe was one of favorite movies and Babe: Pig in the City, isn't far behind. While I love the movies they were not grounds for me to stop eating pork. And as much as I loved the singing mice, the first one to set a tiny paw into my kitchen is dead; I don't care if he's singing Ave Maria!

Even with my predilection for pork of the "everything but the squeal" variety, I do own Babe's Country Cookbook : 80 Complete Meat-Free Recipes from the Farm compiled by Dewey Gram. Needless to say, there are no recipe's for Babe or any of his farm friends. It's vegetarian only in the Babe Country Cookbook. I can live with that.

We have been awash with garlic lately and since it freezing here in West Virginia, I saw this recipe and fell in love.

Kelly Sim's Roasted Garlic Soup

3 heads garlic (not cloves- heads, whole and unpeeled)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 leek (just the white part), trimmed, rinsed well, and sliced
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 quarts water


3 or 4 cloves elephant garlic (those are the huge cloves)
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red bell pepper, for garnish
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350. Roast the whole, unpeeled heads of garlic on a baking sheet in the oven for 45 minutes. While the papery skin will turn dark brown, the pulp will become soft and golden brown. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skins. Slice the garlic heads and reserve.

In a large soup kettle or saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoon oil. Add the onion and leek, and saute until soft but not brown, about 8 minutes. Add the sliced roasted garlic heads, the sliced potatoes, and the water. Simmer partially covered, for one hour.

MAKING GARLIC "CHIPS": Peel and thinly slice the elephant garlic. In a small skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons oil. Add the garlic slices, and saute until they become golden brown garlic "chips," about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, and reserve.

Core and seed bell pepper. Cut into thin strips, and reserve.

Just before the soup is done, stir in the cream. In batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor, and then strain through a sieve into a bowl for extra smoothness. Season with the salt and pepper. If need be, reheat the soup, but don't let it come to a boil. pour into 8 bowls, and garnish with the garlic "chips" and red bell peppers.

I like mine a bit more rustic. I use my immersion blender and never sieve! Most of the time I forget to garnish. Even without red pepper it a soup Babe would be proud of.

Ba Ram Ewe

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