Fall and Winter season is Soup Season, even here in Arizona where it doesn’t really get that cold. We still like a hearty bowl of hot soup with something crusty and cheesy to dip in it. This year, as I set up to start doing batches of soups to can and store for the Winter, I started experimenting with recipes and looking for new stuff to try. I came across a great little article called “Things Your Grandpa Never Told You About Garlic” and at the end of the story was a simple recipe for garlic soup.
Since I have renewed my focus on cooking from scratch and growing more of my own food I’ve come across a ton of research and articles written celebrating the long tradition of the health benefits of garlic. Garlic and onions of all kinds have been used for their restorative and curative properties for thousands of years. They’ve also been used to boost energy and enhance physical performance. Garlic is pretty outstanding all the way around and we happen to be fans of garlic in most things to enhance the dishes we make. I have never tried using garlic as the main ingredient, however, so when I saw this recipe called for over 40 garlic cloves as it’s main ingredients I was worried it would be overwhelming.
The trick is that the garlic is cooked down significantly. Garlic goes through and interesting flavor transformation when it’s roasted, fried or simmered under heat. The finished product is floral, aromatic and not nearly as sharp as raw garlic. When you get toward the end of the cooking process you can smell the change in the garlic and it gives you a hint of how flavorful the finished soup will be. If you can, use good fresh garlic. If it’s older and dried out you won’t get as much flavor out of it. Give it a try, we really love this one.
- 26 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted grass-fed butter
- 2 cups sliced onions (yellow or white)
- 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (dried thyme works too)
- 18 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3½ cups vegetable stock or store bought low-salt vegetable broth
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
- 4 lemon wedges (optional but recommended)
- Preheat oven to 350°F (calibrate your oven if necessary).
- Place 26 garlic cloves in small glass baking dish. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat.
- Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool.
- Squeeze garlic between fingertips to release cloves. Transfer cloves to small bowl.
- Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and thyme and cook (covered) until onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add roasted garlic and 18 raw garlic cloves and cook 3-5 minutes. Add chicken stock; cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Working in batches (if necessary), purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan; add cream and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide grated cheese among 4 bowls and ladle soup over. Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve.
We paired this one with a small toasted sandwich of Italian bread and melted Brie cheese. The soup is creamy but not too heavy so it pairs well with a side that is a little heavier. We also really enjoyed this soup with about 1/4 cup of chopped roasted potatoes added to it. The potatoes give the soup a little more body and make it a much heartier meal. Highly recommended.