Garlic soup. The name sounds wan. It sounds like a thin, aggressive soup with bracing bite. It sounds like the type of soup that’s medicinal, where the sharpness makes it difficult to keep eating even as you know it’s good for you. It sounds unpleasant.
But that’s not what you get. Instead you get something rich. Something creamy. Something with a warm sweetness of roasted garlic without the time commitment, with woodsy earthiness from rosemary and a hit of brightness from lemon. You get a sophisticated soup. You get a soup that’s been transported from a warm bistro on a rainy night to your dining room table. You get something light enough for a healthy lunch, and decadent enough as an impressive starter for a dinner party. Garlic soup, despite its lumpy sounding name, is a good thing.
Just imagine. You sweat an onion until it’s sharp edges are mellowed out then add in a mess of garlic. When everything smells fragrant and heady you stir in some rosemary, lemon zest, and stock (I used Better than Bouillon, but homemade would be incandescent). The whole thing bubbles away, becoming concentrated and savory and rich, and then it’s blended up and has eggs and sherry vinegar whisked in. If you want to gild the lily, you could top it with garlic chips and a drizzle of good olive oil. And it comes together in about 30 minutes.
If that’s not enough tempting enough for you, consider this. I’ve been laid up with a cold. Then I made garlic soup. My cold is now retreating. That may be coincidence, true. Or it could be evidence of garlic soup’s magical properties. It doesn’t taste medicinal, but it is healing.
adapted from A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorrison
The fastest way that I’ve found to mince a large amount of garlic is to peel apart the cloves and then smash then using the flat side of your knife. The paper comes apart easily, and you can chop the garlic inside much quicker.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 head of garlic, cloves minced
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves roughly chopped
5 cups vegetable stock
zest of half a lemon
2 eggs, seperated
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
In a large pot warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a sprinkle of salt, cooking, stirring occasionally, until softened but without color. This should take about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked but without color, about 2 minutes. Add the rosemary, the stock, and the lemon zest. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes.
In a small skillet warm one tablespoon of oil. Saute the two cloves of garlic, stirring often, until golden brown, about two minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
Whisk the egg yolks with the tablespoon of sherry vinegar.
After the soup has simmered, blend, either in batches in an upright blender or with an immersion blender. Return to the pot if using an upright blender.
Very slowly, whisk the egg whites into the warm soup, beating constantly. You want to go as slowly as you can so the egg whites don’t cause large streaks. After the egg whites are whisked in, slowly whisk in the egg yolks, beating constantly.
Taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve immediately, toppped with garlic chips and a drizzle of olive oil.