Potato & Roasted Garlic Soup with Rosemary Pesto Recipe

by Amber on January 9, 2012

The winter farmers’ markets in Sacramento are bursting with flavor! I’m a firm believer in taking full advantage of the local bounty. I’m a locavore. I have no excuse to buy food that’s been shipped across the country when we have so many perfect ingredients right here at home.

Potato & Roasted Garlic Soup with Rosemary Pesto Recipe

A few years ago I overheard a woman say, “I don’t shop at the farmers’ market very often, because you can’t make a complete meal with what you find there.”

The challenge was made: create entire meals using nothing but ingredients found at the farmers’ market—or in my own backyard—including spices.

Can it be done? Decidedly: yes.

Behold: my Potato & Roasted Garlic Soup with Rosemary Pesto. Everything but the salt and black pepper came from our local farmers. Any Sacramentan can find rosemary growing in a neighbor’s yard nearby (I grow it myself and have plenty to share—stop by!).

I made this soup as an entry in a recipe contest at Sacramento’s Grange. The event gave local food bloggers a chance to meet the talented new Executive Chef, Oliver Ridgeway. We tasted a sample of his new menu, including a wild mushroom flatbread, house cured salmon, scallops and California sea bass ceviche with citrus habanero juices and avocado panna cotta, and the winning soup from local food writer, Ann Rolke. All were creatively executed with clean, fresh flavors. Ridgeway is off to a great start!

My creamy, filling soup tastes earthy, round, and complicated, yet it’s made of the simplest local ingredients. Celebrate the tastes of Sacramento with this comforting soup that’s fancy enough for a place like the Grange, yet easy enough for a home cook to replicate for their family.

Potato & Roasted Garlic Soup with Rosemary Pesto

Potato & Roasted Garlic Soup Recipe:
¼ cup butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 lbs yellow potatoes (about 5 medium potatoes), peeled and chopped into 2-inch chunks
4-6 cups vegetable stock (if you want to make your own, here’s a good recipe)
1 whole bulb garlic, roasted and pulp removed from skins
Salt and pepper to taste
Dry jack cheese and Rosemary Pesto to garnish

Farmers’ market ingredients: all of them, except the salt & pepper!

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and enough stock to cover the potatoes by an inch. Bring to a boil. Then, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook about 20 minutes more, or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

Remove from heat. Add the roasted garlic to the potato mixture. Puree using an immersion blender until smooth and creamy. If the soup is too thick, add more vegetable stock and blend.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer an additional 10 minutes. When ready to serve, ladle soup into individual serving bowls. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of the below Rosemary Pesto on top of each bowl of soup and sprinkle with a fresh grating of Dry Jack cheese.

Rosemary Pesto & Roasted Garlic

Rosemary Pesto Recipe:
1 cup rosemary leaves (removed from stem), loosely packed
1 cup Salle Orchards walnuts
1 clove garlic
¾ cup Dry Jack, Old World Portuguese from Spring Hill Jersey Cheese, or other dry, nutty cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup parsley, optional (this adds a brighter green color than the rosemary, but isn’t necessary for flavor)
½ cup Bariani olive oil

Farmers’ market ingredients: all of them, except the salt & pepper!

Add all of the above ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor. Turn on food processor, and as blades turn, slowly add the olive oil through the liquid hole of the processor. Blend until smooth and creamy.

If you’re using the parsley, the pesto will have a lovely, bright green color and you’re ready to serve it.

If you’re not using the parsley, allow the pesto to rest for about 30 minutes. The color of the rosemary will infuse throughout the pesto as it rests.

Make the rosemary pesto ahead and keep in the fridge until soup is ready to serve.


Here are more soups and stories from the Grange recipe contest:

Ann Rolke made the winning mushroom panade soup. You can taste her soup this week at Grange during Dine Downtown Restaurant Week.

Pretty Yummy Foods made Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Bacon & Kale.

52 Kitchen Adventures recalls the event.

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