Two Meal Tuesdays- Black Garlic Love
It all started with a bite of hummus.
Not the way most stories start but so glad this one began this way! My roommate and I are what you could call “hummus connoisseurs”, so much so that any new hummus flavor is fair game, we WILL splurge for the good stuff, and we’ve debated getting matching hummus themed bumper stickers 😂 Anyway, we tried a black garlic hummus from Sprouts and fell in love with it!
To try to help explain what makes this so special… Black garlic is to garlic as balsamic reduction is to balsamic vinegar. Black garlic is the more mellow, sweeter, softer version of garlic, but somehow with a more concentrated garlic flavor.
Whereas normal garlic is super pungent, strong, and is unmistakably present in a dish, if you didn’t know what black garlic tasted like, you might not be able to pick it out if not for its color (the cloves are actually black, like you inverted the colors of a regular head of garlic).
It’s aged like you would cheese under its own special conditions for anywhere from a week to 90 days, and starts out as normal garlic cloves, like pickles start out as cucumbers!
Inspired by the hummus, I decided to try to find black garlic in my area and tried what I thought were the usual suspects – Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Fresh Market. Nada. Nobody carried it.
I was starting to get worried until a chef friend of mine reminded me of a small local grocery store called Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery who had a bunch in stock! This stuff is really hard to find and I paid for it dearly but got some other great local produce and herbs there while I was at it. I wanted to make the most out of the garlic I bought by creating two recipes, homemade black garlic pesto, and a black garlic & mushroom risotto.
Black Garlic Pesto w/Pasta, Spinach & Sausages
This was my first attempt at making homemade pesto, and once you’ve tried the homemade stuff, it’s really hard to go back to canned pesto. It was super easy too!
You start out with the basics- Basil, pine nuts, a little mint, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and a bit of lemon juice.
Then instead of adding regular garlic, you add the black garlic! The recipe I made had 9-10 cloves, so about a whole head of garlic. Be careful, if it’s ripe, the garlic should be really soft and kind of sticky, almost like toffee or caramels are. I pulsed all the ingredients above in a blender but left a lot of the black garlic in finely diced pieces so the pesto wouldn’t look like brown mush. A mortar and pestle would be a great tool to use here too!
I also added some spinach and cooked off a sausage called “The Vampire Hunter” from Lowes Foods which was delicious with this. However, it’s definitely better to try the pesto with pasta on its own first to truly taste the black garlic unadulterated.
Black Garlic Chicken with Black Garlic Risotto
This hearkens back to one of the first blogs I did with chicken and risotto! You could say this is one of my go-to’s 😁
I started by marinating the chicken breast tenderloins in lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and McCormick’s Black Garlic seasoning. Yes, that’s right, after all my searching for the fresh stuff there’s a shake-able, much more affordable version available at grocery stores near you!
Ingredients to make the risotto (minus homemade chicken stock, not pictured here, it was defrosting)
Always start out with your prep, from left to right:
Arborio rice, two shallots- diced, one package of mushrooms, and one head of black garlic
Ahh, found my chicken stock! Also, if you’ve ever made rice on the stove and you toast the grains a little first before you add the liquid, that’s exactly what I did here.
Then came the tedious part, sitting there every 5 minutes for 20-25 mins straight stirring and adding all the chicken broth to the risotto so it didn’t stick. Definitely a labor of love here ❤
While that broth process was going on, I tossed in the mushrooms about 5-10 mins in and sauteed up the black garlic, half the shallots, and some butter, which went into the risotto about halfway along.
Next favorite part, stirring in the remainder of the sauteed veggies leftover and the cheese 😍 I used both goat cheese and my favorite non-dairy parm, but I’d be cautious on how much goat cheese you add, as it will quickly masks the delicate flavors of the black garlic.
Finally, it was time to plate! The chicken had come out of the oven and I meal prepped the rest with risotto into containers. The stuff I had for dinner was delicious! I added a little too much goat cheese in this first version but I will fix it when I write up the recipe for you all (see updates in the link above).
So what do you think Foodie Friends? Have I inspired you to go out and have your own adventures with black garlic? Shout out in the comments below, and as always, feel free to like, share, or leave suggestions on what ingredients I should check out next 🤗