As never-ending as January might feel in the winter, one thing we can all stay excited about is Soup Season. Ah yes, the abundance of steaming bowls of healing elixir that make us feel wonderful both after a chilly day outside or a sniffly day in bed.
And while health benefit reports and studies are mixed, garlic has been widely used throughout ancient and modern history for all sorts of ailments. Here is the recipe we used to make 30-clove garlic soup, inspired by a handful of recipes (like this one from Brooklyn Supper) that called for a little more of this and a little less of that.
• 30 cloves of peeled garlic (buy them pre-peeled if available, so worth it)
• 2 Russet potatoes (chopped into 1-inch pieces)
• 1 large shallot (peeled peeled sliced)
• 4-5 sprigs of fresh parsley
• 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
• Crushed red pepper flakes
• 4 strips of bacon (but make 6 if you want a pre-soup snack)
• 4 cups (32 ounces) of broth (we used chicken, but bone or veggie is fine too)
• 2 tablespoons white wine (we used pinot grigio)
• Olive oil
• Salt & pepper
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F and prep your ingredients: Make sure all 30 cloves of garlic are peeled, slice your shallot, chop your 2 Russet potatoes into 1-inch slices. Lay aluminum foil on a baking sheet and lay out each slice of bacon so that they are not touching each other.
2. Once oven comes to temp, bake your bacon in the oven (on the lowest shelf) for 12-15 minutes (depending on your cut of bacon, might take a few minutes more) — we checked after 12 min and waited til desired crispiness to take it out. Place bacon on paper-towel lined plate once done. Save until the end of recipe, for garnish on soup.
3. [If you have the time, and not in a rush) — follow this step — if you’re in a hurry, skip step #3 and use all the garlic cloves in step 4.] Crush 15 garlic cloves and place them in a small ramekin or oven-safe bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a little salt. Cover ramekin with foil, place on a baking sheet and pop into the oven (with your bacon) on a higher shelf and roast for 20-30 minutes.
4. Crush remaining 15 cloves of garlic (or all 30 if you skipped step 3). Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in medium heat pot/pan (2-3 quarts in size to hold all your soup) and toss in the crushed garlic, previously sliced shallots, crushed red pepper flakes, a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Sauté for 3 minutes, then turn heat on low, cover pot and simmer for 7-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
5. Remove cover, turn up the heat to medium and brown up the garlic and shallots (if not already) then add your white wine. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, cook for 2 minutes. Pour in your 4 cups of stock, add cut up potatoes, pinch of salt, more black pepper, your roasted garlic (if you did step 3) and full sprigs of parsley and thyme. (you can even tie them up together with twine, they’ll be removed before you purée).
6. Bring soup up to a boil, then simmer on low for 15 minutes or until all the potatoes are nice and tender. You should be able to squish them pretty easy with your spoon as a test. Remove your parsley and thyme and set aside. Turn off heat.
7. Time to purée! Grab your large blender or food processor (follow their directions first for the best way to get a blended soup), but here is what we did with ours: with a slotted spoon, add in everything that’s more thick in the soup (everything but the broth) and pulse until nicely mixed, once you get a generally good consistency (doesn’t have to be done) add in all broth (or as much as you need to get your preferred consistency) and mix again until blended together. Taste and at this stage add more salt, pepper if you need — or an additional splash of white wine or broth.
8. Chop up some extra parsley and thyme for garish and crumple up the crispy bacon you made earlier as a topping. Pour soup into soup bowls and top as you’d like. This serves 2 really hearty bowls as a main dish — or 3-4 smaller bowls, that could go well with a salad or as a side dish.
9. If you’re saving leftovers, you can always add some additional stock the next day when reheating if you’d like. The soup will thicken up, but is still really good as is.