Heaven Sent

The night before Thanksgiving dinner is a bit of a challenge. If you are like me, you are excited for the holiday, have been cooking and want something relatively simple and light.

Broccoli and roasted garlic soup seemed to fit the bill perfectly. It is one of those soups that seems creamy and decadent, but is a pretty healthy alternative to all the richness that Thanksgiving can bring. This time I was super lazy and threw some instant mashed potatoes into the pot instead of a baking potato. So much easier and cuts the cooking time down!

This year, I added Sweet Potato Biscuits via Kitchen Sink to shake things up a bit. A little something different.

Oh my goodness, these will make you turn your back on all other biscuits! The color is lovely, they are rustic and dense looking, but lighter than light. Yes, the sweet potato is a bit fussy as far as adding an extra step, but you will not regret it (Mema, I am looking right at you).

Broccoli and Roasted Garlic Soup

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. Purée 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.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Adapted Slightly from Bon Appetit (Molly Wizenberg)
Yield: 12 to 15 biscuits
One 3/4-pound red-skinned sweet potato (yam), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of cayenne pepper
8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup chilled buttermilk

Cook sweet potato in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, cool, and mash.


Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F. Butter bottom and sides of 8- or 9-inch cast iron skillet (or 8- or 9-inch cake pan).


Whisk flour and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Add cubed butter to flour mixture; toss to coat and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes and buttermilk in medium bowl. Add to flour mixture; toss with fork. Gather mixture in bowl, kneading until dough comes together. Turn dough out onto floured work surface and pat into 1-inch-thick round. Using 2-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits, flouring cutter after each cut. Gather scraps; pat into 1-inch-thick round. Cut out additional biscuits, until the dough has been used.


Arrange biscuits side by side in prepared skillet or pan. Brush with melted butter. Bake until puffed and golden on top and tester inserted into center biscuit comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Turn biscuits out and gently pull them apart.
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