Roasted Garlic Soup for a Group
Ever since the Freds’ pilgrimage to the Garlic and Arts Festival a few weeks ago, this Fred has been obsessed with Garlic. Ok, actually I was obsessed with garlic prior to attending, so to be fair the festival just stirred up my strong feelings about this particular allium. Maybe it was the garlic cooking demo’s, maybe it was watching a woman eat over 30 cloves of raw garlic in the garlic eating contest, or maybe it was just the sheer joy of buying pounds of garlic in a plethora of varieties. Regardless, ever since that fated weekend, I’ve been unable to contain my garlic eating. Ok my garlic proselytizing too.
For example, did you know that the sticky juice excreted from the cloves with pressure is used as an adhesive in mending glass and porcelain in China?
Or that eating garlic is associated with tons of health benefits such as fighting a cold, healing from strep throat, and warding off cancer? And speaking of warding off, did you know that eating just one raw garlic clove can ward off hordes of excited mosquitos for days (to be fair it will also ward off fellow humans for the same amount of time)? Did you know that garlic was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene in WWI and WWII? Or that it prevents scurvy? I didn’t think so!
In sum, what I’m saying is 1. I’m a huge food dork and 2. Garlic is amazing! So let’s get down to cooking with it. The following recipe is for a creamy, blended garlic soup which uses both carmelized and roasted garlic to achieve a sublime garlic taste that isn’t harsh in the least. This soup is great the first day, but try to resist eating it right away, instead store it for a day or three in the fridge and then reheat it on the stove top. This extra time gives the flavors in the soup time to meld and brings the flavor of this soup to a whole other level.
Roasted Garlic Soup for a Group
(Serves about 12 as a main course, 16 as a starter)
Please note that this soup is ten times better the day after you make it!
75 garlic cloves, separated from the bulb but left unpeeled
4 Tbs olive oil, plus additional for roasting
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
5 cups chopped onions
2 Tbs minced fresh thyme
1 Tbs minced fresh rosemary
2 cups chopped garlic
10 cups chicken stock (substitute veggie stock to make dish vegetarian)
1/2 loaf day old french bread, crusts removed and cubed (should weigh about 1/2 lb)
1 cup whipping cream or half and half
1.5 tsp salt, plus more for roasting
pepper to taste
1.5 cups finely grated parmesan cheese (about 5 ounces)
1 bunch chives, thinly sliced
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Place your unpeeled garlic cloves in glass baking dish. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to coat the cloves, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender: 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your cloves. Remove from oven and allow the cloves to cool. Once handleable, remove the skins and set the now peeled cloves aside.
While your unpeeled cloves are roasting, heat your butter and olive oil over low heat in a large pot. Add your onions, thyme and peeled raw garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and garlic are very soft and beginning to turn golden brown, about 20 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking uncovered, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, about 5-10 minutes longer.
Next, add your stock, roasted garlic, bread and salt and bring to a boil. Once you’ve achieved a boil, reduce the heat and simmer about 15 minutes. Next, purée the soup in a blender, food processor or with an immersion blender. Return your blended soup to the pot if you removed it to blend and add your half and half or cream, then return to a simmer and until heated throughout.
To serve, place a generous helping of the grated parm at the bottom of your bowl and ladle the soup over the cheese. Sprinkle with sliced chives and serve with crusty bread.