Thursday, March 28, 2013

Simple Garlic Soup

I haven't posted any cooking in a while so here is a simple method for making a very "peasanty" dish of garlic soup. We're talking cheap eats here and it is still cool enough to enjoy some good soup. People don't often think of making soup out of garlic but there are myriad recipes around especially from cooks that lean toward the French side of things. Julia Child has one for example. Here is my take on a really simple but wonderfully comforting soup that you can make for pennies a serving. The trick is adding the thickening eggs and cheese at the end just before serving. The slow cooking of the garlic renders it smooth and delicious. As always when I publish a recipe it is only a suggestion so feel free to make it your own. Also look for the take away technique here and that is in the extraction of flavor from something and then adding to it to produce something really nice. See the variations below.

 In a medium sauce pan add
1 quart or so of water or if you like something richer then chicken broth though I think water is best. a bay leaf or two
three whole stems of flat leaf parsley
a couple of stems of fresh thyme... maybe as much as a teaspoon but leave the leaves on the stem as you will want to fish them out later
10 - 15 cloves of garlic, peeled, and chopped
about a teaspoon of kosher salt maybe less if you use broth (taste it after it cooks and you remove the herbs and adjust the salt to your taste)


1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks
about two ounces of freshly grated hard cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Simmer the bay leaf, parsley thyme, garlic, and salt for 45 minutes to an hour then remove the sage, parsley, bay and thyme. Leave it off the fire. Using a fork, whisk all the thickener ingredients except the oil in a small bowl until smooth and then slowly drizzle in olive oil while still whisking...sort of like making an aoli. Temper this mixture with about a quarter cup of the warm broth and then add the binder back to the pot. Now all you need do is whisk this mixture over low heat until it thickens to the consistency of buttermilk or kefir... just not watery.

This is tradionally served in a bowl over chunks of stale bread and topped with a drizzle of olive oil.

This make 4 nice servings. Note that this is not a make ahead soup but you can make the garlic broth ahead and then rewarm it and add the thickening just before serving.

Variations: While the garlic alone is very nice you can easily substitute shallots (5 or 6) or even an onion or two or mix garlic with shallots and onions. Try different herb combinations as well, such a fresh rosemary or sage. I haven't tried it yet but I imagine you can use a similar method to extract the flavor from a blend of herbs alone and then thicken it. All kinds of possibilities here.


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