This soup has all the flavors, aroma, and presentation for a perfect winter entertaining dish
By CHEF HOWARD KARP
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 24 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
- 1/2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
- 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 cup Wondra® flour
- 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 38 oz. canned Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
- 8 basil leaves
- Parmesan cheese rind
- 3 cups heavy cream
- Puff pastry (store bought)
- Egg wash: 2 eggs, beaten with a couple drops of water
- Salt, to taste
Submerge peeled garlic cloves in olive oil. Cover with foil and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes (be careful not to brown the garlic as it becomes bitter).
Remove garlic cloves from oil and set aside. Add infused garlic oil to a heavy soup pot. Add onions, peppercorns, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add roasted garlic cloves and cook for a few more minutes, being careful not to brown ingredients.
Add flour to make a roux. Stir over medium-low heat for 4 minutes. Add chicken stock and whisk until smooth creating a velouté sauce (roux + stock = velouté sauce). Add tomato paste, tomatoes, basil, and parmesan rind. Bring to a simmer. Reduce to low heat and cook approximately 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the parmesan rind and discard. Pass soup through a food mill (you may also use a blender). Pass soup through a strainer and return to the pot, discarding solid remnants. Add cream to soup and season with salt. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Allow soup to cool in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
Divide soup into oven-proof ramekin cups. Roll puff pastry out to 1/4 inch thick and cut into rounds slightly larger than your cups. Paint dough with egg wash and place the circles, egg wash face-down, over the tops of the cups, pulling lightly on the sides to make the dough somewhat tight like a drum (try not to let the dough touch the soup). These may be made 24 hours in advance and covered with plastic in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly paint the top of the dough rounds with egg wash without pushing the dough down. Bake for 20 minutes, until the dough is golden brown. Do not open the oven door in the first several minutes of cooking as the dough may fall.