Sunday, December 2, 2012

From My Kitchen: Garlic Soup

Garlic soup is a winter staple in our house. It's warm, tasty, and decadent. Pump up the level of garlic to 'nuclear' and it's also great for the immune system and clogged sinuses. Since my life of late has been consumed with moving and not blogging, I thought that I would take this 'recipe' that I just emailed to a friend with a sick kid and park it here. 

This is less recipe and more ingredients + loose process because I don't make garlic soup so much as wizard it into being. It's a simple set of ingredients, the process is pretty simple, but the results can vary a lot depending on little things - how dry the bread is, how fresh the garlic is. 

Four cloves of garlic is about my baseline for this soup. If I am trying to help knock out an infection or supporting my digestion post antibiotic, then I might jump that up to 6 to 7 or 10. (10 was for the year of continued illness in my household.)

If you are going nuclear, serve this with some bread or rice or something to help pad it in the system.

This is one of those dishes I make while I am doing something else in the kitchen because it ranks above mid-way on the labor-intensive scale. I would put it somewhere between potato salad and risotto for all the cutting, but less of the stirring. 

Shopping list: 

(1) loaf french bread, check the bakery section day-old area. If you can't find a day old one, buy a fresh one, as crusty as you can. You can use cuban bread as it tends to more crusty. If you are not making this on a whim, cut up the bread, place it on a tray or sheet and cover with with a tea towel, sit on your kitchen counter overnight. 

(4) heads of garlic, peeled and chopped small. (It's about 35 to 50 cloves) Don't use a press, but you can use a food processor and should if you have one. 

(64) oz. of veggie or chicken stock
Shredded parm, I usually get one of those containers from the deli, the smallest with shredded and it's enough.

Salt, Pepper and Cayenne to taste.
Water to thin down the soup. It will get stiffer as it cools.

Pre-heat oven to 325.

*Cut bread into 1" cubes and place in a large bowl. I have to do this in sections because I don't own a mixing bowl large enough for a whole loaf.

*Drizzle the bread cubes in olive oil or butter. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and put into your oven. Heat these until they are toasted on the outside and drier. You will need to flip them during this process. I just dump them back in a bowl and then put them back on the sheet.

While you are toasting bread: 

*Heat 2 tblsp of EVOO in a stock pot. Add the garlic to the oil on medium heat and sautee until it's translucent and begins to smell nice.
Add stock (or broth) to the garlic mixture and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a medium/low

*Take your croutons and add them to the broth slowly, allowing them to soften and fall apart. Continue doing this until the mixture is the about the consistency of a typical soup (think canned tomato soup). You can use an immersion/stick blender at this point to speed up the process. 

*Put a lid on it, turn the heat to low and let it cook for 20min.

*Add your seasoning (the cayenne is good for the sinuses) and just before you are ready to serve it, add the parm, stir it in until it melts. Keep in mind that you will add loads of salt to the soup with the cheese, so it should be under seasoned prior to the cheese addition. 

To finish it, make it smooth, like a bisque, use a stick blender or a regular blender and give it a whirl.

Don't leave it on the heat once the cheese is melted in. It tastes nasty when it burns.
If you are making this and have questions, ping me here and I will attempt to help. 

I top mine with sour cream and sometimes herbs, basil and parsley.

Happy Eating!

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