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Test Kitchen video tip: Roasting garlic 101 ... and a recipe

Roasted garlic -- it's easy to make and tastes great with so many dishes

Roasted garlic: It's one of the most amazing flavors in the kitchen. Add it to soups and stews, whisk it into a vinaigrette or tomato sauce, brush it onto grilled steaks, use it to lend extra flavor to your secret recipe for mashed potatoes. Or simply rub it over toasted bread, like butter.

If you've never roasted garlic, I can't emphasize enough how easy it is. Grab a whole head of garlic — or two, or three — next time you're at the market. Cut the top of the pointy tip off the garlic (no peeling necessary!), just enough to expose the tips of the cloves. Place the garlic on a small sheet of foil with the cut end facing up. Drizzle a little olive oil over the cut end of the garlic head, and sprinkle a pinch each of salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic head in the foil. Place the garlic in the center of the oven (place the foil directly on the rack; you don't need to put it on a baking sheet) and roast at 325 degrees for about an hour, until the cloves have softened and that wonderful aroma is almost too much to bear. Voila.

Remove the roasted garlic from the oven and set it aside, still in the foil, to cool slightly. Then go crazy with it! If for some strange reason you don't plan to use it right away, squeeze the garlic from the head through the cut end. It's kind of like squeezing toothpaste. Wrap the roasted garlic pulp tightly and refrigerate for up to a week. Looking for a use? Try it in the roasted broccoli soup recipe you can find below.

Cooking is fun — at least it should be! No matter how long you’ve been in the kitchen, there is always something new to learn, whether it’s a simple twist on an old technique, or a handy tip to save time and energy. In this series of short videos, I demonstrate a variety of kitchen tips, including how to hold a chef’s knife for maximum control and how to use a spoon to peel fresh ginger. If you have any gadgets, kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.

BROCCOLI AND ROASTED GARLIC SOUP

Total time: 1 hour, plus 45 minutes roasting time for the garlic | Serves 6 to 8

Note: Adapted from "Autumn Gatherings: Casual Food to Enjoy With Family and Friends" by Rick Rodgers. He notes, "Roasted garlic is a great thing to have in the refrigerator, ready to perk up your everyday cooking. I often take a few seconds to prepare a couple of heads and toss them in the oven when I am roasting something else. One autumn Saturday, when I wanted a warming soup after gardening, I made this soup from what was on hand, and now it's a staple.".

    1 large, plump head of garlic
    Olive oil, for drizzling
    Salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 large bunch broccoli, about 1 3/4 pounds
    2 tablespoons butter

    1 medium onion, chopped

    1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
    6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. To roast the garlic, cut off the top one-half inch of the garlic head to make a "lid." Drizzle the cut surfaces with a little olive oil and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Replace the lid. Wrap the garlic in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast until the garlic is tender and a rich golden color, about 45 minutes. Unwrap and cool. The garlic can now be used for the soup, or wrapped in plastic and refrigerated until ready to use, up to 1 week.

2. Meanwhile, cut the florets from the broccoli stalks. Coarsely chop the florets, then peel and coarsely chop the stalks.

3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then add the onion and cover with a lid. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped broccoli and potato.

4. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pot. Simmer until the potato is very tender, about 30 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, squeeze the roasted garlic into the pot, discarding the hulls. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Puree the soup in batches using a blender, or in the pot using an immersion blender. Serve hot. This makes about 2 1/2 quarts soup.

Each of 8 servings: 132 calories; 5 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 5 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 8 mg. cholesterol; 334 mg. sodium.

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