1 garlic bulb, cloves separated (unpeeled)
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
2 cups low-fat (1.5%) or fat free buttermilk
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped green beans, thawed
1/2 cup chopped lean ham
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

To roast the garlic, preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350˚F; line a small shallow baking pan with foil. In the pan, combine the garlic, 1/4 cup of the broth, and 2 teaspoons of the oil. Cover with foil and bake until the cloves are soft and have absorbed all liquid, about 1 hour. When the cloves are cool enough to handle, squeeze their pulp out of their papery skins and reserve.

To prepare the soup, in a large nonstick saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Sauté the onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1¾ cups of broth, the potatoes, roasted garlic pulp, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are soft, 15-20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf, remove 1 cup of the cooked potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Transfer the remaining potato-onion mixture to a blender or food processor; puree. Return to the saucepan and stir in the reserved potato chunks, the buttermilk, green beans, and ham; heat to serving temperature. Serve, sprinkled with the pepper.

Makes 4 Servings


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