Roasted Garlic and Pea Soup with Bacon, Onion and Thyme Bread

by Kristin on December 9, 2009

Everyone has a few recipes in their repertoire that they can turn to if they want something fast or cheap. This recipe is both. The only reason the soup can’t be filed as a 30-minute meal is because the garlic takes an hour to roast, but if you do that the night before you want to make the soup, then you can have this soup on the table in about 20 minutes. This bread goes perfectly with the soup, but a good store-bought focaccia, ciabatta or garlic bread would do the trick just as nicely.

Roasted Garlic and Pea Soup
adapted from Real Food by Nigel Slater

Serves 2 to 3

1 head of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups (420 g) frozen peas
2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1 3/4 cups (420 ml) vegetable or chicken stock, heated
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Cut the top off the head of garlic. Cut out a square of tin foil, large enough to make a baggy parcel around the garlic. Sit the garlic in the middle of the foil and drizzle with the olive oil. Make a loose parcel around the garlic, sealing the edges of the foil. Roast for about 1 hour, until soft.

Cook the peas in boiling salted water as usual. Drain and tip into a food processor or blender, then squeeze in the soft cooked cloves of garlic. Add the butter and Parmesan and half of the stock. Process to a creamy puree. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and add the remaining stock. Check the flavor and add cream to taste. Pour back into a saucepan and reheat gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

***

Bacon, Onion and Thyme Bread
adapted from Roly’s Café and Bakery by Paul Cartwright and Paulo Tullio

Makes 2 loaves

1 tablespoon olive oil
200 g bacon, chopped
1 large onion, finely diced
750 g strong white flour
2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
25 g sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 x 7-g sachet dried yeast
(430 ml) tepid water
4 tablespoons milk
1 egg yolk
1 egg, beaten + 4 tablespoons milk, for the egg wash
pinch of sea salt, such as Maldon, to garnish

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and onion and cook for about 10 minutes, until the bacon is cooked through and the onion is soft but not browned. Remove from the heat and set aside. (If the mixture looks very oily, drain with a slotted spoon.)

Using a mixer with a dough hook, sieve the flour into the bowl on the lowest speed, adding the butter, sugar and salt. Add in the bacon and onion mixture as well as the thyme.

In another bowl, mix the yeast with the water, milk and egg yolk, making sure the yeast is fully broken down. The liquid should turn a pale gray.

Gradually add the liquid into the flour, increasing the speed of the mixer until it forms a dough. This should take about 7 to 10 minutes (double the time if mixing by hand). Turn off the mixer.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it in half. Shape into 2 round loaves or put into 2 lightly oiled tins and place on baking trays. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt. Cut straight across at an angle using a sharp knife and leave in a warm place, covered with a tea towel, for about 30 to 40 minutes, until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, adding a bowl of water to the bottom of the oven to prevent a skin from forming on the bread.

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