Suggested ingredients to create your base:
- Garlic (1-5 heads, depending on the size of the pot and preference for taste)
- Vegetable, chicken, or beef stock
- Olive oil, salt, black pepper
- Halve the garlic heads through the middle. Slice one large lemon in three bits.
- Drizzle olive oil over the lemons and garlic, and season with salt, pepper, and paprika (optional).
- Roast until the lemons begin to brown and when the garlic smells good and wants to pop right out of its’ pockets.
- Remove the garlic cloves from their skins and either mash them into a paste or chop them finely. Save the roasted garlic skins for another time.
To make the soup:
- In a large pot, pour in the stock and toss in roasted lemons and garlic skins. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, removing the lemons and skins.
- Add the garlic and stir. Season with a small amount of salt and pepper and add more to taste towards the end. Keep it on the stove on low until the flavor is how you prefer.
This alone is a great broth to which you can add bread crumbs and fresh herbs, or it can be used as an enhanced stock for bigger and better things:
Suggestions to add to the soup:
- Roast 1/2-1 whole head of cauliflower and blend with the stock & roasted garlic, and serve. (Click on link for recipe)
- Fry leeks, scallions, and/or thin slices of fennel in oil.
- Thickly dice potatoes to toss in, or puree potatoes into the stock and add cream.
- Beat two eggs and drizzle while stirring boiling contents. Reduce and serve immediately (as pictured)
- Slice carrots, or add very small florets of cauliflower.
- Thicken with a Beurre Manié (equal parts softened butter and flour, folded into a dough in a pan).
- Boil in pastina or polenta and top with Parmigiano
- Chop many herbs and add before serving.
Garlic soup is healthy and can be made heartier for stark winter weather or livened up with more acidity on warmer days. The Czechs and Austrians have their own versions of garlic soup (i.e. česnečka, krémová česnečka, knoblauchcremesuppe) that may or may not include potatoes, cream, vegetable stock, homemade croutons, and so on. Both are wonderful, and the source from which I thought to create a paste from roasted garlic to add to my vegetable broth.
By roasting the garlic, it takes away the bite from raw garlic that I had added to my česnečka in previous weeks and adds depth and fat from the olive oil.
The vegetable broth I used was brewed from scraps. Carrot tops, cauliflower stems and cores, tops of fennel, old onions and lemon peels and all the peels and ends removed are a goldmine of nutrients and flavor. Please save them; create a broth; place under, or stuff, a whole chicken with them; place in a roasting tray; make a gravy or pesto, The best part about soup is that the stock can be made from your typical throwaway items, and the contents are happy to be budded potatoes and bruised vegetables and waning herbs.