This recipe has certainly made it’s way around the food blogs I visit, and I’ve been dying to try it ever since I saw it over on Mike’s Table. I then realized he had garnered inspiration from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted this recipe from a Bon Apetit recipe. Whew, that was like playing Six Degrees of Separation! Sadly, there is no Bacon in this dish. But there could be. And it would be a fantastic addition.
Be warned, the flavour of this soup is extremely unexpected based on the ingredients, savory and slightly sweet, with a healthy amount of heat.
- One whole roasted chicken, skin and bones removed, meat shredded or chopped
- Anywhere from 4-6 heads of garlic (my husband looked at me funny when he saw ‘Garlic x7’ on our weekly shopping list :))
- A big handful of thyme, leaves picked and chopped
- 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
- 2 Tbsp of butter
- Olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced finely
- 1 leek, chopped
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine
- Good quality chicken stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 avocado, diced finely for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off of 3-4 heads of garlic (I used 4) and slather with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap the whole heads tightly in tinfoil, and roast until the house starts to smell like Gilroy, CA – about 45 minutes.
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, thyme, and rosemary and sautee until soft, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add the cayenne pepper and smoked paprika and stir to incorporate. Peel the cloves of garlic from the remaining heads of garlic (I used 1) and add to the pot, sauteeing until slightly soft, another 4 minutes.
When everything starts to merry together (you’ll know when you want to smash your head down into the pot) deglaze with a nice white wine. I used a Voignier that I would drink if I actually drank white wine. Now that the heads of roasted garlic are cool, pop the cloves out of the head and add them to the pot.
Add enough chicken or vegetable stock to cover the leeks, garlic, and onions, and then add a tiny bit more. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 30 minutes until the cloves af garlic are tender. Remove from the heat and add the cream.
With an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender, puree everything until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste. At this point I added about 1/4 tsp more of cayenne pepper. Add the chicken and gently warm through. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with avocado and bits of the chopped thyme leaves. You could even add tomatoes, peppers, leave out the chicken, add bacon or pancetta. It’s an incredibly versatile soup with an astounding amount of flavour!