Feel that vampires are on the loose? Is it a full moon? Or do you just feel like a touch of Spain tonight? Is it extra cold where you are? Whatever, cook Garlic Soup for no reason at all.
Are you looking for warming soups? Browse our soup recipes here and here. Our favourites are Simple Mung Dal Soup and Spicy Rustic Red Lentil Soup. Have a look at the Garlic recipes here and here. Find inspiration in our Winter recipes here and here.
This month has been extra chilly — harking back to winters of long ago which seem colder than the ones of recent years. Enough rain, thank goodness, to have enough water in our dams, to make the nights under warm doonas feel cosy and comforting, to make the world a bright green rather than the dull brown of summer scorching heat.
So back to an old favourite – garlic soup. Quite a traditional soup, the recipe is simple — you can imagine the poorest of people being able to find a head of garlic and some slices of stale bread to make this soup – but is also easily adjusted or tailored for your tastes and the food at hand on your kitchen bench.
Prep time: 7 mins
Cooking time: 25-30 mins
Serves: 5-6 depending how you use it
1 bulb garlic (about 12 cloves)
1 tspn unsalted butter
1 leek, washed and sliced
0.5 cup chopped chives (can use garlic chives if you have an Asian Grocery nearby) — leave 10 – 12 chives uncut for garnish
1 tspn fresh thyme leaves
4 sliced white sourdough bread (or other non-processed bread), soaked in water
4 cups vegetable stock
sea salt and black pepper
juice of half a medium lemon
Simmer the garlic in about 500 ml water for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid. When cool enough to handle, peel the garlic and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan and gently cook the leek until softened. Add the chives and cook for a further minute. Add the cooked garlic, thyme, reserved liquid and stock, and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and strain, reserving the liquid. Squeeze excess liquid from the bread, and place in the bowl of a food processor. Puree with the leak and garlic mixture. Stir into the reserved stock, and return to the heat. Heat gently, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the lemon juice. Ladle into warm bowls and top with chives.
Add a little white wine to the vegetable stock
For a little spiciness, add a dried red chilli or two in the last minutes of sautéing the leeks. You can remove the chillies before blitzing the soup if you prefer.
For a little earthiness, add a bayleaf or two, and/or a cracked black cardamom pod.
Sprinkle with a good hard cheese, grated, when serving.
White pepper also goes well with this dish.
Try adding a parsnip chopped finely to the leek.
Warning: Leftovers are not so nice. The soup goes gluggy and gluey, probably because of the bread content. A good excuse to eat it all at one sitting.