Temperatures have dropped quite low recently, and we’ve even had a second occurrence of snow. Though we do get ice storms, the soft fluffy white stuff is somewhat uncommon for these city parts of Texas. As old and expiring car batteries are prone to do, mine chose the snow day to fail to start the car. Fortunately, the cable guy working on a neighbor’s house was willing to loan his van for a battery charge. Still, the process involved me digging the jumper cables from among the clutter in our garage, removing the plastic protective cover from the battery, and properly attaching the large positive and negative clamps to their very small matching bolts on the battery. I somehow did this without blowing anything up (though the cable guy had to re-set the clamps a bit), as my husband’s words “just don’t let the clamps touch each other” were clearly in my mind the entire time. Did I mention it was freezing outside?
So it wasn’t surprising, that the very next day, I made this soup, inspired by the “Creamy Potato and Roasted Garlic Soup” recipe from Anna Thomas‘ cookbook Love Soup. Aaahhh…have I mentioned the restorative properties of the aroma of roasting garlic in a warm kitchen before? Well, it is restorative, just as roasted broccoli and potatoes and a touch of creamy coconut milk are. Add to that the subtle undercurrent of turmeric and sweet smoked paprika, both warming spices, and this soup, with its substantial texture, more than made up for the very cold weather and previous day’s troubles.
Most importantly in a good soup is the stock, so as always, I recommend you make your own for the best flavor and restorative effect. I made use of the remaining stock from the oxtail we made for visiting family this past weekend, but a good, rich homemade chicken stock would provide a great flavor base too. I like my winter soups to have lots of texture, so that they’re almost chewy. To get the same texture as you see in the picture below, be careful not to purée the soup too long, unless of course you prefer it smoother. Take it from me; if you’re in need of some inner therapy, and are weary from the weather or the week, I recommend a bowl of this well-balanced potage unreservedly.
(recipe inspired by the cookbook Love Soup by Anna Thomas)
1 large russet potato, about 1 lb.
8 cloves of garlic
Around 1-1/2 crowns of broccoli, about 1 lb.
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 large onion, about 5 oz., diced
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups oxtail or chicken stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Scrub and peel the potato. Cut into approximately 2-inch pieces. Peel the cloves of garlic and trim the tip off the stem ends. In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes and garlic with one tablespoon of the olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Place the potatoes and garlic on a large baking sheet, and roast on the center rack of the oven for twenty minutes.
While the potatoes and garlic roast, rinse the broccoli crowns and cut into approximately 2 to 3-inch pieces. In the medium bowl, toss the pieces of broccoli with another tablespoon of the olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. After the potatoes and garlic have roasted for twenty minutes, remove them from the oven, scrape into the same bowl as the broccoli, stir gently to mix up everything together, and place the potatoes, garlic and broccoli back on the baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with another tablespoon of the olive oil, and roast another twenty minutes.
When the vegetables have finished roasting, remove from the oven. In a 4 quart stockpot, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil begins to shimmer, then add the spices and heat for several seconds until fragrant. Add the diced onion and sauté until softened. De-glaze the bottom of the stockpot with the 1/4 cup of white wine, and stir into the onions. Add the roasted vegetables and stir to mix together. Add the four cups of stock, cover, and keep at a medium simmer for ten minutes. After ten minutes, remove from the heat, uncover, and let cool slightly.
Scoop about half the mixture into a high-powered blender. Purée the mixture for several seconds until it is smoother but still has a somewhat grainy texture. Pour the puréed mixture into a large separate heat-proof bowl. Repeat for the remaining mixture.
Stir in the lemon juice and the coconut milk. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. If your stock is unseasoned, you may need to add up to two teaspoons of salt and one teaspoon of pepper; if your stock is seasoned, you may need to add less. Taste as you go so you don’t over-season the soup. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator.
Makes a little over 6 cups