Friday, December 19, 2008

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup

I had an overabundance of garlic and Great Northern beans so I went on a hunt online to find a good recipe to use them up. I happened upon a really nice looking blog called Farmgirl Fare, where I found a recipe called Garlic Lover's White Bean Soup. How perfect is that? It was flavored with rosemary, thyme and most unusually, fennel seed. Plus the added benefit of 19 cloves of roasted garlic. Okay, the recipe called for 10 to 15 cloves, so I figured 19 would just be morer betterer, right? The soup turned out divine. The garlic became sweet and caramelized and the beans had a delicate and very velvety smooth texture when cooked, and they absorbed the flavor of the herbs and fennel seed wonderfully. The recipe has very little fat and, all in all, it was a very thick and healthy soup.

Well, it was reasonably healthy until I decided to top each bowl with homemade seasoned croutons! I had an almost week old loaf of homemade bread that I just had not gotten around to eating. It wasn't mouldy or anything gross like that--just a bit stale. So I cut the crusts off, cubed it into 1" cubes and put the cubes in a bowl. This bread had a hearty firm crumb, so it didn't disintegrate when I melted some butter with some olive oil in the microwave and drizzled it all over the cubes of bread. I then tossed that whole mess with Penzey's Mural of Flavor spice blend, spread it on a baking sheet and baked them at 350 degrees for kind of a long time, like 30 minutes. Then I drained them on paper towels when I took them out of the oven. The result was golden, butter infused croutons that were so crunchy they nearly cracked my teeth.

I usually throw my old bread out into the back yard for the birds, but I might have to reconsider this plan from now on. I like the idea that I can reincarnate old bread as decadent croutons when I don't have time to bake a fresh loaf, y'know? And because fat is a natural preservative, they'll last for a day or two so I can give them a third life with leftover soup. I love being thrifty! And the French half of me hates to waste food, so it's all bon.


debra said...

Thank you for the shortbread! This soup looks divine. I just came home from patient first. Upper respiratory infection. I bet the garlic in this recipe would scare it right out of me.

Janine Serresseque said...

Well Dearie I have leftovers if you need them! Happy closing, and I'm sorry you're under the weather. XOXOX