44-clove garlic soup

9:53:00 PM

I think I’ve mentioned multiple times that we’re not really soup people, though I think I’ve not offered a whole lot of evidence to that statement since I keep posting soups I love. Still, though. 

This soup is my hands-down, all time favorite soup. Like, ever. It is so good. I’ve made this multiple times, as both a starter to a meal and as the meal itself served with salad and bread. It’s creamy and pretty and garlicky and smooth and has just the right amount of parmesan and a quick squeeze of lemon to brighten everything up. 

44 cloves of garlic sounds like a lot. But most of this garlic is roasted and becomes mellow and sweet, and the soup is so well-balanced with the small amount of cream and parmesan. 

Use the most standard-sized garlic you can - meaning, try to use medium-sized cloves, and use common sense - if all you have left are tiny little cloves, maybe use two and count them as one. 

I got very lucky the last time I made this, as my aunt grows garlic and sent my dad tons of it. He, in turn, passed on a giant paper bag full of fresh, delicious garlic. It’s all gone now, sadly, and a large portion of it went to this dish. 

This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, which is basically my bible of food blogs. I swear, everything I have ever made from this blog, I have made more than once, because it is phenomenal. I follow the original recipe pretty much exactly. 

Note: I'm filing this under the "vegetarian" category, but Parmesan cheese by definition must contain animal rennet. Therefore, if you're cooking for vegetarians, use a cheese labeled vegetarian-friendly or just check the ingredients for animal rennet - it's not "true" Parmesan but it works! Asiago made with vegetable or microbial rennet is a good substitute. 

Smitten Kitchen’s 44-clove garlic soup
serves 4-8 (4 as a meal, 6-8 as a starter)

26 cloves garlic, peel left on
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 ¼ cups thinly sliced onions
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, plus a little bit more for garnish
18 cloves garlic, peeled
3 1/2 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
½ cup heavy cream
2 oz (½ cup) grated parmesan cheese (or vegetarian alternative - see note)
lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small glass baking dish, combine the 26 unpeeled cloves of garlic with olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Cover the dish with foil and roast for about 40-45 minutes until garlic is very soft. Allow to cool, then peel the cloves.

Melt the 2 tbsp butter in a large pot over medium-high, then add the onions and thyme leaves. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the onions are softened. Then add in the roasted garlic, plus the raw garlic, then cook for a few more minutes. 

Add the broth, then cover the pot and let simmer over medium-low heat until the raw garlic is very soft, about 20 minutes. 

Blend the soup, either using an immersion blender or a regular blender (you’ll need to work in batches, and remember to remove the plastic piece in the lid of the blender and cover the hole with a paper towel to allow steam to escape.) If using a regular blender, return the soup to the pot, then stir in the heavy cream and taste. Add more salt and pepper as needed.

Divide the parmesan evenly between four to six bowls (depending on how many you’re serving), then top with the soup. Squeeze some lemon over the soup and add some thyme leaves for garnish.

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