Dutch oven delights turn into cold weather classics

soup2

My best friend gave me a Dutch oven for Christmas. I’ve seen dozens of recipes I’d like to try and have pinned on Pinterest, but now I can actually try them. Since I’ve already used it for a few different recipes, I’ve decided that January will be Dutch oven month on my blog.

The temperature in Tahoe has been dropping to a single digit on a regular basis during the past month or two, which has put me in the mood for hot, healthy food. While this first recipe doesn’t require the use of a Dutch oven, I wanted to test its stovetop capability. The instructions for mine say it shouldn’t be put on high heat, so I wanted to see whether I could get anything to boil on a lower setting.

About six years ago, I clipped this recipe for White Bean and Rosemary Soup from O magazine. It has since become one of my favorite go-to recipes when I want to make soup. One tip I’d like to offer is to chop the rosemary as small as possible. Getting a larger piece in the middle of the soup is annoying. The croutons are good, too, but when I’m only cooking for myself, I opt for a piece of toast instead.

I recently attended an outdoor concert in the area and was an icicle when I returned home. It was so nice to have a pot of soup ready to heat up to help me defrost. It was just what I wanted.

Croutons
2 whole heads garlic
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt , plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 loaf unsliced whole wheat bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice off tops of garlic heads so the cloves are just exposed. Rub each head with 1 teaspoon olive oil; wrap loosely in foil. Roast 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven (but leave oven on); let garlic cool until comfortable to touch. Squeeze cloves from the heads into a small bowl; mash with a fork; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine half the roasted garlic with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Add bread and toss until well coated. Place bread on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes, turning once or twice, until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside. soup3

Soup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch coins
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) white beans, drained, rinsed and drained again
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

To make soup: In a large saucepan, heat butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth and remaining half of garlic and bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook 20 minutes, until carrots are very tender. Add drained beans and rosemary; cook 10 more minutes. With an immersion blender or in a food processor fitted with knife blade, puree half the soup until smooth. Stir to combine. Serve in bowls topped with croutons and drizzled with remaining olive oil.