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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Spotlighting useful kitchen staple garlic

When asked what ingredient I can’t live without, my answer is easy, garlic. I’m one of those who thinks there is no such thing as too much garlic. I look at a recipe that calls for one clove of garlic and just laugh. You can buy garlic whole in bulbs, peeled cloves and even already chopped, making it easy to use. I was surprised that I had never featured this staple of my kitchen.

Time to remedy that. I have assembled three of my favorite garlic recipes. The first is a staple side dish, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes. The second is better when the temperature is cooler, Garlic Soup. The entree that I’m featuring is a 40 Clove Garlic Roasted Chicken. Grab some garlic and Let’s head to the kitchen!

Roasted garlic is a great way to add flavor to a dish. It dramatically cuts the sharpness of raw garlic. This nutty flavor is great in mashed potatoes (recipe follows) and in sauces.

Roasted Garlic

1 head of garlic

1½ tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 325℉.

Cut about ½ inch of the top of the garlic head. Cut the roots so that the garlic will sit flat. Remove most of the skin from the garlic, but leave enough so that the cloves stay together. Place the garlic in a small baking pan, drizzle the olive oil over the top of the garlic and cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Allow the garlic to cool before you handle it.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and diced

4 tablespoons salt

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons butter

6 cloves Roasted Garlic, mashed

Salt and white pepper to taste

Boil potatoes with salt until tender and drain well. In same pot heat heavy cream, butter and mashed garlic. Remove from heat and add potatoes. Mash until creamy. Stir in salt and white pepper.

In most recipes, garlic is a complementary ingredient. Here, the stinking rose takes the lead. The longer you cook garlic, the more mellow the flavor gets. I know it’s hot outside but this is a great soup anytime.

Garlic Soup

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 heads garlic, peeled and minced

1 medium onion, sliced

2 bay leaves

2 sage leaves

Creole seasoning

2 quarts chicken stock

3 basil leaves, finely chopped

6 egg yolks

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup croutons

1 cup Swiss cheese, grated

Heat olive oil in a medium pot over high heat. Stir in the garlic. Add the onion, bay leaves, sage, Creole seasoning to taste and cook until the onion is golden brown. Stir constantly and reduce heat if needed. Add the chicken stock and basil. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the bay and sage leaves. Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl and pour into the soup beating constantly. Add the cream and stir well. Pour the soup into 6 warm soup bowls. Top with croutons and sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve immediately.

Here’s one of my favorite ways to cook a whole chicken. You get a great garlic flavor from the meat. You can use the leftover cloves in future recipes.

40 Cloves Garlic Roasted Chicken

40 cloves garlic, unpeeled (you can find containers of unpeeled garlic in the produce section)

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), rinsed and patted dry (giblets removed)

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided

Your favorite seasoning blend ( I use Rotisserie Chicken seasoning blend)

6-8 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 475℉.

Place chicken in a large roasting pan. Rub chicken all over with one tablespoon of the butter; season with Rotisserie Chicken seasoning. Add garlic, the remaining butter and thyme to the pan. Roast, basting occasionally with juices and stirring garlic, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (avoiding bones) registers 165℉, 45-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with garlic and juices.

Garlic is known for its healthy benefits. It’s great for blood pressure and cholesterol among other things. It’s also known as a vampire deterrent. If you find yourself being chased by one, swing by my house. There’s always plenty of garlic on hand.

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