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Curried Cream Soup with Garlic Scented Spinach and Toasted Marcona Almonds

Chef Lenny Russo from Heartland Restaurant prepared the dish, using ingredients from Cedar Summit Farm

For the roasted garlic:
3 ea. large garlic bulbs
1 c. whole milk
1/2 t. fine sea salt
1/4 t. white pepper, freshly ground

For the soup:
1/4 c. roasted garlic purée
1 pt. heavy cream
1/4 c. court-bouillon or low sodium vegetable broth (see recipe)
2 t. cream sherry
2 t. curry powder
1/2 t. fine sea salt
1/4 t. white pepper, freshly ground
1 ea. bouquet garni consisting of one fresh bay leaf and two sprigs of fresh thyme
2 T. whole unsweetened butter, softened at room temperature

For each plate (may be extended in direct ratio for number of servings desired):
6 oz. curried cream soup (see recipe)
1 t. whole butter
1 oz. court-bouillon 
2 oz. spinach, julienned
1/2 t. garlic, chopped
1/8 t. sea salt
1/8 t. Tellicherry black pepper, freshly ground
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. Marcona almonds or other whole blanched almond, toasted and crushed

Cut the tops off of the garlic bulbs to expose the cloves, and place them root side down in a baking dish. Pour the milk in the dish, and season with the salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with a lid or with aluminum foil, and baked the garlic in a preheated 350°f oven for 45 minutes. Remove and allow time to cool. Meanwhile, heat the cream and stock in a non-reactive sauce pot over low to moderate flame. Add the sherry and the bouquet garni, season with the salt and pepper and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes whisking occasionally to prevent scalding. Whisk the garlic along with the spices into the soup. Allow the soup to simmer for 5 more minutes, and remove from the heat. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Finish the soup by blending in the softened butter making sure it is well incorporated. Set aside. Prepare the spinach by heating the additional butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and the garlic. Season it with the salt and pepper. Add the additional court-bouillon. When the spinach is sufficiently wilted, mound it in the middle of a serving bowl. Make sure the spinach has some height and isn’t laying flat in the bowl. Ladle the soup around the edge, and sprinkle the almonds on top of the spinach.

Court-Bouillon 2 ea. white onion, peeled and diced 1/4″
3 ea. carrots, peeled and diced 1/4″
1/2 stalk celery, peeled and diced 1/4″
1 ea. medium leek, cleaned and diced 1/4″
1 ea. garlic bulb, quartered
1 ea. bouquet garni consisting of 2 thyme sprigs, 2 marjoram sprigs, 3 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf,5 whole allspice, 10 white peppercorns, 10 black peppercorns and 12 fennel seeds
2 T. grape seed oil
1 c. dry white wine

In a stock pot over moderate heat, sweat the vegetables in the grapeseed oil until tender. Add the white wine and the bouquet garni. Fill the pot with one gallon of cold water, and bring it to a boil over high flame. Reduce the heat and simmer for two hours skimming intermittently. Strain through a fine mesh strainer lined with moistened cheese cloth.

Preparation time: 2 1/2 hours
Yield: 1 gallon.

© 2006, Leonard P. Russo