This delicious soup starts with thirty cloves of garlic. You may gasp, but once those cloves are cooked, the flavor shifts from sharp and pungent to rich and mellow.
One of the beauties of this garlic soup is that it can be served at the table before any kind of meal, whether dairy or meat. It has a creamy smoothness, yet contains no milk or butter and no artificial margarine, cornstarch, or flour thickeners. It can be served on its own or with the addition of a sautéed, steamed or grilled dark, leafy green vegetable such as kale or spinach.
This is a vegetarian soup, but as it contains eggs, it is not vegan. The eggs are beaten and added slowly to thicken the soup. I love that the added protein turns a bowl of this soup into more than a chill-chaser on a cold winter day. The amount of salt in the recipe is limited; I feel it’s better to add more as desired. And of course, for those who like a little kick, a dash of cayenne goes without saying! Try it! You’ll love it!
What You Need:
1 three-quart pot
1 large slotted spoon or a wide, wire mesh ladle
1 medium glass or Pyrex bowl
1 wire whisk
For the Stock:
30 cloves of garlic, peeled. Crush them to slip off the skins or blanch and peel them.
2½ quarts water
3 T. olive oil
1 T. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 or 3 leaves fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
2 sprigs thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
4 sprigs parsley
For the Egg Thickener:
3 eggs, room temperature
6 T. olive oil
In the three-quart pot, bring the stock ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.
When the stock is finished simmering, use the slotted spoon or wire mesh ladle to remove the garlic and aromatics. You can discard these, or use the cooked garlic to flavor mashed potatoes, herb butter, vegetable soup, or a sauce.
Beat the eggs in the glass bowl, whisking in the oil extremely slowly. After the oil is incorporated, you will add the stock in the following manner: In a thin trickle, while continuing to whisk the egg and oil mixture, slowly add a ladle full of the stock to the bowl. The goal is to thicken the soup with the egg mixture without suddenly shocking the eggs with hot liquid and cooking them and ending up with little floating islands of poached egg. Whisk in four ladles of stock.
Again using the whisk, gradually add the egg, oil, and stock mixture to the soup. The soup will thicken, and while you may see tiny specks on the surface, the eggs should be thoroughly incorporated.
Taste to adjust the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Serve hot, with rustic bread or toast points. Garnish with finely chopped parsley or snippets of chives.
If you choose to refrigerate and reheat the soup, do so on a low heat, being careful not to let the soup boil.
By Lisa Reitman Dobi