Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When is a baked potato not a baked potato?

Photo from Wikipedia.com

Before I began today's post, I attempted to research the history of the potato. I learned that archaeologists found potato remains dating back to 500 B.C. It is said the the Incas grew potatoes, concealed them in bins for safekeeping during times of war, carried them for sustenance during long journeys, and even worshipped them. (I really like potatoes, but I wouldn't go that far).  

Spanish conquistadors discovered potatoes when they were searching for gold in 1532. (Close.) From there potatoes were taken to Spain and then were carried on to England and Italy.

When I was growing up we ate a lot of potatoes, especially baked potatoes. I never tired of them. Crisp and brown on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside. What's not to love? But you know how to bake a potato, and today I promised another soup recipe. So why not...

Baked Potato Soup
2 lbs russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut in half (4-5 potatoes)
2 large onions, halved and peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper
1 medium head garlic
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
6 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place potatoes in large bowl. Cut each onion half into 3 sections and place in bowl. Drizzle oil over vegetables and sprinkle in thyme. Toss well to coat. Spread vegetables in single layer on large baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice the top third off head of garlic and discard. Place garlic cut side up in the center of a sheet of foil. Put 1/2 tablespoon of butter on top of the garlic. Bring the corners of the foil up to enclose the garlic head. Place on the baking sheet with the vegetables and roast for 45 minutes then remove garlic.

Continue roasting vegetables until tender, about 15 minutes more.

In large saucepan bring broth to a simmer. Transfer one-half of the roasted vegetables to a food processor and add 1/2 cup of hot broth. Process until smooth and then transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining vegetables to the food processor. Squeeze the garlic pulp from the garlic head and add to the vegetables in the food processor. Add another 1/2 cup broth and process until smooth. Return all of the pureed mixture to the saucepan of broth.

In a small saucepan melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in milk and cook; stirring often, until thickened. Stir into the soup.

Soup may be garnished with any of the following:
  • minced green onions
  • crumbled cooked bacon
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • sour cream

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