One night in January I needed to make dinner. My dad was out of town. My mom was sick. [It was really cold too, but remember we're not really talking about bad weather if we can help it.] Soup sounded good, but I wanted to make one that we’d never tried before.
Cue blog-archive-scouring. Similar recipes seemed to catch my eye on all of the blogs I summoned, and they all involved lots of garlic. Lots of garlic. No arguing there, right?
In the end I went with Joy the Baker’s recipe, which also involved a happy addition of roasted potatoes. I also added some roasted boneless skinless chicken thighs, mostly because my brother doesn’t view vegetarian meals very favorably, and I wanted everyone to be pleased.
It worked, and now I consider this one of my favorite soups! And I’ve had a chance to eat it quite a few times, due to um, cold weather. Moving on!
When you read the recipe below and see that the soup calls for 88 cloves of garlic, don’t be alarmed. Trust. (Then start peeling.) But really, the soup is far from abrasive. 52 cloves are roasted until they’re soft and sweet. The remaining 36 get sautéed later on with onions and olive oil, etc, and the finished soup is creamy and muted-garlicky (a new description I just created) and comforting.
Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker
Note: You can follow these steps (minus the sauce) if you’d like to add chicken to your soup as well. It’s just as good with or without.
For the roasted garlic:
52 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Salt + pepper
For the roasted potatoes:
4 large russet potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt + pepper
For the soup:
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped (you could substitute rosemary)
36 garlic cloves, peeled
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)
Salt + pepper
Lemon wedges, olive oil, and parmesan, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small baking dish, toss the 52 unpeeled cloves of garlic with plenty of olive oil (enough to lightly coat all the garlic), salt, and pepper. Cover the dish with foil, then bake for 30-35 minutes. A knife will very easily slice through the garlic when it’s finished. Remove the dish from the oven and set aside to cool before handling it. Once cool, remove the garlic from their skins into a bowl.
While the garlic is still roasting, prep the potatoes. Scatter the chunks on a parchment-lined baking sheet, coat with olive oil, and toss with rosemary, salt, and pepper. As soon as the garlic comes out of the oven, slide the potatoes in and turn the heat up to 425 degrees. Roast for about 40-45 minutes, until the potatoes are nicely browned and tender.
While the potatoes are roasting, heat the 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. I love using a Dutch oven for soups. Add the onions and thyme and cook until the onions are soft, stirring frequently. Add the roasted garlic and raw garlic. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes. The raw garlic will be softened.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Watch out for any sneaky whole garlic cloves that might try to evade blending. Alternately, you could blend the soup in a few batches in a regular blender. Stir in the cream, and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
When you’re ready to serve, place scoops of the roasted potatoes in bowls, and ladle the soup over them. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and plenty of cheese.
Makes about 6 servings.