I have an obsession with cannellini beans. As I mentioned in my last soup post, they add a wonderful creaminess to just about everything. They are humble yet luxurious. Earthy yet mild. They pair perfectly with strong, hearty herbs, like rosemary and sage. They can definitely take on those more aggressive flavors.
Enter roasted garlic. Pungent. Sweet. Savory. Velvety. Delicious. I love the stuff. My parents used to roast garlic off in large batches in the winter time and serve it to us like butter – just spread on toasted baguette. Heavenly! They even had one of those little roasting crocks just for garlic. You must try it out, if you haven’t already.
I decided to top this soup with a fresh herb oil…to lighten up the denseness of the soup. I threw some fresh rosemary, sage, chives, and baby arugula into my food processor and gave it a whirl with some grapeseed oil. Holy cow. Now I want to add baby arugula to every herb oil or pesto I ever make. Such a great, bright flavor! The color ain’t too shabby either!
This soup is warm, and not just in the literal sense. It is thick, creamy, and comforting and makes you feel like you just ate a warm, garlic-tinged hug. I just burst out laughing at that thought. That would be gross. Ew.
Please ignore me.
But make this soup! SO. MUCH. FLAVOR.
Oh, and eat it with toasted, crusty bread! SO. MUCH. TEXTURE.
What more could you ask for?
Roasted Garlic & White Bean Soup with Herb Oil (makes 4-6 servings)
For the Soup:
2 whole heads of garlic
2 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 shallots, minced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, stemmed and chopped
1 Russet potato, peeled and chopped
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 (15-oz) cans cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed
¾ cup heavy cream (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Crème fraîche or plain Greek yogurt, for serving
Toasted, sliced baguette, for serving
For the Herb Oil:
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, chopped
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
One sprig of rosemary, stemmed and leaves chopped
½ cup grapeseed oil (you can use olive oil if you don’t have grapeseed)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. For the Soup: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the heads of garlic in half, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in tin foil. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the cloves are soft and caramelized. Remove from oven and allow to cool before handling.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter together in a large pot. Add the unroasted minced garlic cloves, shallots, and rosemary. Cook for 2 minutes. Add in the potato and stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Season the mixture well with salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potato is very tender and almost falling apart. Add in the roasted garlic (squeeze the cloves from the head directly into the pot) and the canned beans. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes.
3. Puree the mixture using an immersion blender (or in batches using a standard blender or food processor) until completely smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, if using, and check for seasonings.
4. While the soup is simmering, make the herb oil: in a food processor, combine all the ingredients and pulse until the herbs are very finely chopped. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. The oil can be strained through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer, if a smoother texture is desired.
5. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the crème fraîche/yogurt and herb oil, as desired. Serve with toasted bread on the side for dipping.