Author Notes: I love what happens to garlic when it is roasted. It turns into a sweet delicious paste that you can eat with a spoon. Which brings us to soup! Smokey bacon, spicy watercress and sweet, mellow roasted garlic- this deeply flavored soup will delight. I like to strain this through a china cap after I puree it and add a pad of butter to give it a velvety texture, but it is delicious rustic-style as well. - wanderash
- 3 heads of garlic
- 2 pieces of bacon, plus 2 more
- 2 leeks, cleaned and cut in a medium dice
- 1 large white onion, medium dice
- 2 celery, medium dice
- Bay leaf
- 2 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock
- 1 cup watercress, chopped
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the top off of the garlic heads, leaving the heads intact and exposing a bit of the cloves. Place garlic in the middle of a piece of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Now, pull the sides of the foil up and seal the package. Put in the oven and let cook for about 40 minutes, until the garlic is very fragrant, soft and a little brown. Let cool, then slip the cloves out of the husk and reserve in a bowl. This can be done a day ahead.
- In a large, heavy bottom pot, render the fat from the bacon over medium heat.
- Add onions and celery and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. You may need to add a touch of olive oil.
- Add the leeks and season with salt. Sauté until they are soft.
- Pour in the chicken stock. You will need enough to just cover the vegetables. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. In the last few minutes, add the watercress.
- Cut the remaining two pieces of bacon into ½ “pieces and sauté until crisp. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
- Remove the bacon and bay leaf, add the roasted garlic and puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor. (Optional- pass it through a china cap for a more velvety consistency.) Taste for seasoning and serve the soup topped with the crispy bacon. Enjoy!