Let’s get something out of the way, shall we? This soup is not going to win you any points at the office. You’ll be that person. The one smelling up the entire lunchroom/kitchen with your leftovers. And depending on how your coworkers feel, they’ll either hate you for stinking up the place, or they’ll hate you for not bringing enough to share.
I mean, 44 cloves of garlic? There’s no way anyone’s going to be ambivalent about this one.
We picked up a cold bug somewhere over the holidays, so soup sounded especially good. And since I’d made chicken noodle soup a few days earlier, I was looking for something different. This soup seemed to fit the bill: easy enough for a weeknight, soothing for a sore throat and fairly healthy. (After all, isn’t garlic supposed to be good for just about everything?)
I was striking out when it came to a vegetable side to serve alongside the soup though. I didn’t feel like making a salad, and, let’s be honest: the few jalapenos in those biscuits don’t come anywhere close to the recommended daily amount of vegetables. Then I realized that I could wilt some spinach down into the soup and call it a one-pot meal. Ta-da!
To give us a head-start on dinner, Andy started roasting the garlic when he got home. It was done before I walked in the door, which meant that all I had to do was chop some onions and get things simmering away. I pulled some biscuits out of the freezer, and we were set.
Andy gave this one a five, and since my Grandma sent us home with LOADS of home-grown garlic, I think it’s safe to say that this will be making another appearance in our kitchen. I’m sure my coworkers will be thrilled. 😉
44-Clove Garlic Soup
26 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons of olive oil
18 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 1/4 cups of diced onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 heavy cream
2 handfuls (about 4 cups) fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350. Place the 26 unpeeled garlic cloves in a small glass baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then stir to combine. Tightly cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until the garlic cloves are soft. Remove from the oven.
When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves from their skins and discard the skins. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a stockpot or large saucepan. When the butter has melted, add the onions and thyme to the pan. Saute until the onions are tender and mostly translucent, with a little bit of brown on their edges. Add the roasted garlic cloves and the 18 cloves of peeled, fresh garlic. Saute for about 3 more minutes.
Add the chicken stock to the pan, scrapping up all of the browned pieces from the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan and bring the stock to a simmer over medium heat. Allow the mixture to simmer until garlic is tender, about 20 minutes.
When the fresh garlic is very tender, puree the soup with an immersion blender. When the soup is smooth, stir in the cream and then add the spinach. Cook over medium-low heat for a few more minutes, until the spinach wilts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve the soup, sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese in the bottom of the soup bowl and ladle the soup on top of the cheese. Squeeze a lemon wedge over the top of the soup. Serve immediately.
Barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen, originally from the February 1999 issue of Bon Appetit
Click here for a printable version.