Roasted Garlic Soup with Parmesan Cheese
I love garlic. Garlic bread. Garlic soup. Roasted garlic. Garlic in my pasta sauce. Maybe it’s the Italian in me.
We all know what garlic is best for – safeguarding us against those pesky vampires.
(Well, garlic lovers, you've never been bothered by one, have you?)
It isn't clear why garlic is called the stinking rose. It isn't a member of the rose family but of the lily family along with onions and leeks. Its scientific name is allium sativum liliacae. That's the rose part. The stinking part? Well, that comes from the sulfur compounds that contribute to the taste and smell of garlic.
While most people eat just the bulb, other parts of the plant are edible, such as the leaves and flowers on the garlic head, which are milder. The immature flower stalks of the elephant type of garlic – called the scape – are also edible. Scapes are a popular early season vegetable at La Vista, the community supported garden I belong to.
The bulbs – or heads – are divided into numerous sections called cloves and are covered with a papery skin. Raw garlic is pungent and not everyone can handle eating it but cook it up and garlic’s strong flavor mellows.
When buying garlic, look for firm heads. It doesn’t matter if they are large or small (a head has about 10-15 cloves), just be sure there isn’t any black powdery-looking patches under the skin. That is a type of mold so pass it up and be sure to store the rest of your garlic in a dry cool place. As garlic ages, it produces a green sprout; just cut it out before you use the garlic because these can be bitter tasting.
You can buy garlic already chopped that is sold in jars but I prefer fresh. One thing to remember when chopping garlic – the more finely it’s chopped, the more pungent it will be. But again, cooking it will mellow the flavor.
My husband isn’t particularly fond of garlic (must be the Scottish in him!) but he and our sons loved a roasted garlic soup I made for us in March. This is a modified recipe from the February 1999 issue of Bon Appétit that was posted on epicurious.com. I hope you enjoy it as well.
- 3 large heads of garlic,, peeled; set aside 8 cloves
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 T butter
- 2-1/4 cups sliced onions,, divided
- 1-1/2 tsp. fresh thyme,, chopped
- 3-1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 lemon wedges
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Coat half the sliced onions and 28 cloves of garlic with the 2 T of olive oil. Spread them in a thick layer on a foil covered baking sheet, seal with another layer of foil and roast for about 30 minutes. Transfer them to a small bowl.
- Melt butter in large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the other half of the uncooked sliced onions and sauté them until they are translucent, about 6 minutes.
- Add roasted garlic and roasted onion slices as well as the 8 cloves of uncooked garlic. Cook 3 minutes.
- Add chicken stock and thyme. Cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 20 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper. Divide grated cheese among 4 bowls and ladle soup over it. Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve.
- This can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
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