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meatless monday: potato and garlic broth

October 12, 2010

I am not a vegetarian. I eat meat with a relish that is traditionally reserved for men of the flannel-shirt, full-bearded variety.

However, the American preoccupation with placing a dead animal whose life was spent in misery, abuse and its own refuse at the center of the table and reducing the rest of edible creation to unimportant side dishes seems a little off to me. And while I do my best to eat the products (whether dairy, egg or meat) of only humanely raised animals, the idea of replacing at least one omnivorous meal a week with a vegetarian dish intrigues me.

And so begins the MM experiment. My first (official) attempt was from my beloved European Four-Ingredient Cookbook. When I first picked it up, I was sure that it would be full of Bisquick, pudding mix, cream of (fill in the blank) soup, and other such time-savers that add to our sanity but don’t always add up to wholesome meals. I was pleasantly surprised. The dishes were simple, but used full-bodied whole foods that led to complex flavors and truly remarkable dishes. Just don’t tell my family that the fococcia they all rave about takes ten minutes to make, and has so very few ingredients.

Please.

Potato and Roasted Garlic Broth

2 small or 1 large whole head of garlic

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

7 1/2 cups hot vegetable stock

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the unpeeled heads of garlic in a small roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes or until soft in the center.

Meanwhile, par-boil the potatoes in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water for about 10 minutes. In a separate pan, bring broth to a boil, and simmer for five minutes. Drain the potatoes and add them to the stock. Squeeze the garlic pulp into a bowl (prepare to get very sticky fingers), and from thence into the soup (making sure to pick out any little papery bits of garlic peel), stir and season to taste (because I am obsessed with my herb garden, which is now represented in little glass bottles lining the spice cupboard, I added a bit of rosemary and thyme). Simmer for 15 minutes and serve hot.  

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