Saturday, February 2, 2008

Creamy Garlic Soup

I have a few friends (and family members) that I can really discuss food with. I'm talking about the kind of people who don't just like eating, but really love getting down to the finer points of food. Quality ingredients, cooking techniques, new recipes, old recipes, favorite places and things to eat or cook...these are frequent topics of conversation. The best thing about these kinds of people is that you can really trust their recommendations. Food is an extremely an subjective thing. Everybody has their own ideas of what is good and what is not. How do you know who to trust? Should I trust somebody's recommendation of a new pizza place if their favorite pie is made by Domino's? I don't think so. Every meal is an event for me, and few things make me more upset than eating a meal that I don't enjoy, or falls short of expectations. Having had extensive discourse with certain friends about food, I know that I can take recommendations from them and never be let down (or at least know pretty much what to expect).

I don't want to sound like a snob, but my time and money are valuable to me, and I hate wasting the former on a so-so recipe or the latter on a so-so restaurant. I pretty much apply this same line of thinking to all subjective matters, be it music, movies, books, or food. You cannot develop these kinds of relationships with people without frequent conversation and a real passion for the topic from both parties. I talk about food a lot, with friends who are lovers of food, and I have learned to trust their opinions, suggestions, and judgments. So recently when one of my co-workers gave me a recipe for garlic soup, I had no doubt that it would be worth my time. Thanks Blando (and all my other food-loving friends and family members as well)!

Start by blanching a cup and half of peeled garlic cloves (which turned out to be about 2 1/2 bulbs of garlic for me). All you have to do is just drop them in boiling water for 2 minutes to soften them, then remove them. Chop your leeks, peel and chop the potato, and measure out your stock.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until wilted, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 5 minutes.

Add the stock and potato, bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the garlic and potato are softened. Remove the pot from the heat and puree with an immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender then you can puree the soup a bit at a time in a blender or food processor (and then go out and get an immersion blender so you have one for next time, it's worth it). Stir in the cream and add salt and pepper to taste. The amount of salt you add will depend greatly on your stock. I made stock which had very little salt, so I added about a teaspoon. Most stock you buy at the store, be it in liquid or bouillon form, already has A LOT of salt in it, even if it's low sodium, so you might not need to add any salt at all. Let your taste be your guide, but remember, once you put it in, you can't take it out so salt and taste a little at a time. Add the lemon juice and give everything one last blend (or stir).

This soup would make a great first or second course with almost any winter meal, or accompanying a grilled cheese sandwich. I took the recipe's suggestion and added a piece of ciabatta toast topped with an egg. The recipe suggests a poached egg, but I'm not the best egg poacher, so I went with a modified sunny side-up egg. It is modified because I cover the pan when I'm frying the egg so that the top white solidifies, since I love runny yolk, but can't stand runny white. You'll probably want to have some more bread for dipping (and wiping the bowl) once you eat that first piece.

Creamy Garlic Soup alla Blando (modified by Darron)

About 1 hour and 15 minutes - Makes 4 medium sized bowls of soup

  • 1 1/2 cups of garlic cloves, peeled and blanched for 2 minutes in boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped leeks (light green and white parts only)
  • 1 small potato, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • toasted slices of Italian bread (optional)
  • poached eggs (optional)
  1. Heat oil in pot over medium heat
  2. Saute leeks for 5 minutes until wilted but not browned, stirring occasionally
  3. Add garlic and saute for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  4. Stir in the stock and potato, raise heat and bring to a boil
  5. Cover pot, lower heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until garlic and potato are soft
  6. Remove pot from heat and puree with immersion blender, blender, or food processor
  7. Stir in cream, add salt and pepper to taste, stir in lemon juice
  8. Serve in bowls topped with toasted slice of bread and a poached egg

Superbowl Update: I decided not to go to crazy with food, since I need to be able to focus all my attention on the Giants. I'm making burgers before the game, and trying my hand at some homemade buns. I'll serve that with some oven-baked fries and green beans. For dessert, I baked some chocolate chip cookies which I then turned into either coffee or vanilla ice cream sandwiches. They are in the freezer as I write this, and it's taking quite a bit of willpower on my part to leave them there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This sounds amazingly delicious! (and I believe the eggs are called "basted" when prepared that way. which is how I like them also!)