Roasted Garlic and Kale Soup

The weather has been dreary with off and on rain here in Austin for the past couple of days.  It’s been so long since we’ve had anything besides sun that everyone is retreating indoors and getting cozy.  Of course, cozy is a relative term – the high will be in the 80’s today even with the rain!

But hey, that’s not going to stop me from putting on a sweater and making a pot of soup while I catch up on the DVR.  One of my new go-to vixen diet approved soups is this delicious roasted garlic and kale soup.

Kale is in season now which makes it a super cheap addition to this soup.  You can generally pick up a bunch for under a dollar – that’s a lot of super food benefit for less than a buck!  Grab a bit of this soup and you’ll stock up on vitamin A, C and K as well as many others.  Check out the nutrition profile here.

For this soup you’ll need the following:

  • 1 Head of garlic plus 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 T Olive oil, divided
  • 6 Shallots, sliced
  • 2 T Flour
  • 1 C White wine
  • 4 C Chicken Stock
  • 2 C Shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 Can cannelini beans
  • 1 Bunch of Kale

This soup actually comes together fairly quickly, you just need a bit of time to roast the garlic in advance.  If you’ve never roasted garlic before, it’s a snap.  Slice the top off a head of garlic.  Place the garlic bulb in a square of tin foil and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the bulb.  Seal up the package and set to roast in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes.  I generally use my toaster oven for this step because I tend to roast the bulbs one at a time.  But if you’re doing a whole batch, it would make sense to put it in the oven.  

After some quality time in the oven, allow the bulb to cool and then gently squeeze out the garlic.  It will be soft and just slip right out of the bulb.  Roasted garlic has none of the sharpness of fresh garlic – you could spread it on a slice of bread right now for a delicious snack.  But if you’ve only roasted one bulb you have to hold yourself back and save it for the soup!

Place your shallots in your stock pot with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Cook over medium high heat until the shallots are deliciously caramelized.Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of flour and continue cooking for another minute, until no white flour flecks are visible.  Then deglaze the pan with the 1 cup of white wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrap up any bits from the bottom of the pan.  Allow the mixture to thicken.  I like to add the roasted garlic in now as well to make sure it perfumes the whole pot.

Next add 4 cups of chicken stock, the can of beans, and shredded chicken.  Turn the soup to medium and bring it up to a simmer while you work on the kale.

Kale is a pretty tough green.  It’s not going to wilt as soon as it touches a hot pan like spinach.  In order to maintain it’s beautiful green color, I like to do a quick sauté with some garlic in separate pan.  You can wash, chop and add it directly to the soup at this point and simmer for 10 minutes, but you’ll end up with a brownish green.  Who wants that?  I will get another pan dirty to make a prettier soup.  That’s the kind of crazy I am.

If you’re my kind of crazy, mince your three cloves of garlic and heat over medium high heat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  

While the garlic is going, wash and chop the bunch of kale.  If you’re feeling up to the task, cut out some of the tougher ribs but if you’re lazy like me, just tell people it gives the soup character.  (yes, I’m too lazy to take out tough ribs, but not too lazy to wash another pan for a prettier soup.)

Add the sautéed kale to the soup and get ready to serve.  All it takes is one final stir and you’re ready to go!

Dish it up with a nice slice of toast on the slide and you’ve got a hearty soup for a cold (or not so cold) rainy day! 

–Martta

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