Suggested ingredients to create your base:
Garlic (entire heads, depending on the size of the pot and preference); Lemons; Hot pepper (per preference); vegetable, chicken, or beef stock; olive oil; salt; eggs; butter; flour
To Roast: 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 if you choose. Roast until the lemons begin to brown and when the garlic smells good and wants to pop right out of its’ pockets. Char a hot pepper and dice. Remove the garlic cloves from their skins and place in a bowl to mash into a paste; add the hot pepper. Save the roasted garlic skins.
In a large pot, place your stock and toss in the skins and roasted lemons. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, eventually removing the lemons and skins. Add the garlic paste and stir. Season a little now with salt and pepper, and more as time goes on.
Suggestions to add to the soup:
- Favorite: Roast 1/2-1 whole head of cauliflower and blend with the stock & roasted garlic, and serve.
- 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.
- Slice carrots, or add florets of cauliflower.
- Thicken with a Beurre Manié (equal parts melted butter and flour, folded into a dough in a pan).
- Boil in pastina, 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.