I don't know about you, but I love love love garlic. When a recipe calls for a clove or two I chuckle, mutter, "You're wrong," and double or triple the called-for amount. Then I take a big ol' whiff as its aroma explodes from my pan. Whether it's raw, lending a little bite to a perfect bruschetta; sauteed, offering a subtle warmth to a bright marinara; or roasted, providing complexity to a silky mashed potato; there are few ingredients more magical - or impactful - than garlic.
What I do not love, however, is peeling garlic. That thin, papery layer that clings to each individual clove, keeping me from my goal, is just annoying. But I'll let you in on a little not-so-secret-secret - you can buy peeled garlic. What?! But isn't that, like, blasphemous or something for a professional chef?! Pshh, I say. There are plenty of things in life about which to be a purist. Battling with garlic peels is not one of mine, especially when it comes to making roasted garlic.
Don't get me wrong, a whole head of roasted garlic is beautiful, and there are times when the visual presentation of it might be part of your goal - like resting on the platter next to your Thanksgiving turkey, for example.
But if you're making a recipe that calls for roasted garlic as an ingredient (or you just want to jazz up one of your go-to recipes), it's just such so much work to squeeze out every individual clove without making a giant mess. Enter my hands-off method for making a big-ass batch of "roasted" garlic that you can then package into small containers and freeze for future use. You're welcome.
Now, when it's time for me to make another batch of roasted garlic, I like to buy a giant 5-pound bag of peeled garlic from Smart & Final or Restaurant Depot. That said, you can also make this recipe using the smaller bags of peeled garlic you can find at pretty much any grocery store these days. If you go that route, you'll need to keep a closer eye on your slow cooker and stir the garlic more often so that it doesn't burn on the bottom.
(Note: In the photos below I've essentially cut the recipe above in half because that's the amount of garlic I had on hand. That amount of garlic gave me 24 fluid ounces of end product.)
Big Batch "Roasted" Garlic
(Makes.... a lot)
5 pounds peeled garlic cloves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Mix all ingredients together in your slow cooker.
Cook on high for 4ish hours or low for 8ish hours, stirring occasionally to encourage even cooking. Times are rough because slow cookers vary wildly. Your garlic is done when it's a deep golden brown, kind of like peanut butter.
Cool and then pack into small containers (I like 4-ounce ones like these) and freeze for later use. Keep a container in the fridge at all times for impromptu deliciousness.
Stir into mashed potatoes or pasta sauces to lend an undeniable depth of flavor, blend with mayonnaise to create your own fancy "aioli" for a next-level sandwich, or mix into your sourdough dough for built-in garlic bread. Or, if you're feeling generous, pack your roasted garlic in pretty glass containers and, boom, you've got everyone's new favorite edible gift. (Safety note: Your roasted garlic should be kept refrigerated, so please keep that in mind if you are gifting it.)
Now that's #abiteofgood worth sharing!