|1||garlic bulb, cloves separated (unpeeled)|
|2||cups reduced-sodium chicken broth|
|4||teaspoons olive oil|
|1¼||pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed|
|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