Monday, November 12, 2012

Roasted garlic chicken soup with white beans and rosemary

I had planned to make chicken with 40 cloves of garlic for dinner, but it was one of those drizzly, dreary Oregon winter days that just begged for a soup. So I compromised, combining the chicken with 40 cloves of garlic with one of my favorite soups, chicken with white beans and rosemary. It's a pretty natural match. The roasted garlic melts into the soup, creating a silky texture and mellow, smooth garlic flavor. I go easy on the rosemary so the garlic can shine. For me, the perfect broth texture for a soup like this is thick enough so the vegetables and chicken don't sink to the bottom, but thin enough so it's nothing like stew. Adding a little flour is key, and adds to the silkiness.

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 lb)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons oil (olive or vegetable, or some combination thereof), plus some for drizzling over garlic
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cans white beans (I used one can of small white beans and one can of cannellini), rinsed and drained
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Heat oven to 350. Cut the tops off the head of garlic so the cloves are showing. Place in aluminum foil or on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, or until the cloves offer no resistance when poked. Remove them from oven and let cool.

Bring broth to simmer over medium heat. Add wine, and bring back to a simmer. Gently simmer the chicken in the broth until it's barely cooked through. Remove and set aside to cool. Keep broth simmering.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and add carrots and celery. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Add flour and stir until the flour coats the vegetables and isn't raw anymore, about 2 minutes. Add mixture to broth and stir until well combined. Add beans.

Peel garlic and chop coarsely. Add to broth. Cut chicken in bite-sized pieces and add to broth. Add rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Let the soup simmer for another 10-20 minutes for the flavors to meld. Or longer, if necessary.