Once I tried to make the garlic soup in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I didn’t have all the right herbs, and I don’t know what else happened, but it was just plain wrong. There was no mellow garlic flavor; this was enough to paralyze every vampire within a 100-yard radius. I made it for The Big Boss that night, and evidently he is no vampire – he devoured four bowls as an appetizer. I sacrificed the rest to the kitchen drain gods – it was just too strong for the rest of us.
That idea of garlic soup, a strong, aromatic, rejuvenating broth, really appeals to me, though, and I decided I was brave enough to try it again for a dinner guest this week. I used herbs from my garden and homemade stock made from leftover roasted chicken, and it turned out to be a really lovely, mellow-flavored soup.
You don’t have to worry about peeling and mincing the garlic very much. I cut and smashed a whole head of garlic, then strained it after simmering. Here’s a picture:
The soup was a simple and flavorful started to our dinner of handmade ravioli and artichokes, and has been just as tasty for breakfast with a piece of toast. Try this:
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp fresh marjoram
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp lemon pepper
- 4 oz day-old sourdough or French baguette
- Shaved parmesan
- Cut the head of garlic crosswise, then cut each half in quarters.
- With the flat part of a chef's knife, smash each chunk of garlic so that the papery coatings are loose.
- Pour chicken stock into a large saucepan.
- Add the garlic - don't worry about the peels being added to the soup.
- Add bay leaf, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes.
- Strain and return to the saucepan on low heat.
- Add bread and stir occasionally until dissolved.
- Serve in a warm mug topped with parmesan cheese.
There are lots of options and variations out there in the world for you. Here are two interesting ones – this healing garlic-ginger-lemon soup that caught my eye, and this elegant Richard Olney garlic soup thickened with egg. Enjoy!