A friend of mine claimed she hated garlic. I know she most definitely did not hate garlic. She ate foods that I made for the last 10 years contained garlic— pizza, all Italian food, sausage, garlic bread (yes, garlic bread). I guess she just didn’t like the idea of garlic? Food preferences are weird and she is a mystery, but I know she wouldn’t have gone anywhere near this soup….
This soup has a lot of garlic in it—a garlic lovers soup, if you will. I love it. In addition to being exceedingly satisfying, it is a pleasure to make. All of that peeling of garlic forces you to slow down and gives you room to think. The finished soup is so deeply and complexly flavored that a small bowl does the trick. We ate it with a big green salad and some Parmesan toasts. It is a wonderful winter meal.
The recipe suggests you squeeze some lemon over the soup before eating. This is not optional and is an example of the danger of substitutions and exclusions. That squeeze of lemon takes the soup from good to great. We tried it without and with a splash of sherry vinegar instead, trust me, it needs the lemon.
- 26 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 2 1/4 cups sliced onions
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 14 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth**
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1/3 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
- 4 lemon wedges
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 26 garlic cloves in small 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 and set aside.
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and thyme and cook until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add roasted garlic and 14 raw garlic cloves and cook 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and water; cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 25 minutes. Working in batches, purée soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan; add cream and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide grated cheese among 4 bowls and ladle soup over. Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve.
**If you have homemade chicken stock you should definitely use it—you can even use 4 cups. The water is my solution to canned chicken broth, which I almost never like the flavor of, the water is simply diluting it.
***I made it through this whole post without mentioning vampires!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!