Saturday, April 02, 2011

Garlic Lovers, UNITE!

OUCH! Eyes were burning and noses were running when I made Susan Spicer's (of Bayona, New Orleans) Cream of Garlic Soup. It calls for six cups of chopped onions and two cups of garlic cloves! But it was the perfect excuse to try out my new purple stick blender that I bought at Sur la Table over Spring Break in the Big City! I had a boring white one that I liked very much, but I accidentally melted its cord (draping it across a hot burner--oops!). So now that they make a purple one, I thought it was a sign that it was time to replace my old damaged one.

Now I know that TWO CUPS of garlic and all those onions sounds scary, but you first caramelize the onions and garlic until they are golden brown and sweet (like roasted garlic). The soup is DELICIOUS, silky smooth and with a wonderful depth of flavor. This is a must-make for garlic lovers!

Bayona's Cream of Garlic Soup
(8 servings)

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups peeled and sliced onions (about 2 pounds)
2 cups peeled but not chopped garlic cloves (save yourself and buy a big jug of peeled cloves at Sam's Club!)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
6-7 cups chicken stock
1 bouquet garni* made with parsley stems, thyme sprigs and bay leaf
half a loaf stale French bread, cut into cubes
1 cup (up to a pint) half-and-half or heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste

Blend the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until they turn a deep golden brown,30 to 40 minutes (up to an hour). Add the thyme, 6 cups chicken stock and bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Stir in the bread cubes and let simmer for 10 minutes, until the bread is soft. Remove the soup from heat and cool for 10 minutes. (If you use a stick blender, you can skip the cooling step.)

Remove the bouquet garni and puree the soup in a blender ( in batches, if necessary), until completely smooth. Return the soup to the pot and heat to the desired temperature. Whisk in more chicken stock if the mixture is too thick. Add half-and-half or cream until the soup reaches the texture of a classic cream soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*I didn't have fresh herbs on hand, so I just used dried thyme (one teaspoon), parsley (one tablespoon) and two bay leaves. I fished the bay leaves out before pureeing the soup.

(Susan Spicer, Crescent City Cooking. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2007)


merium said...

sounds delicious! I have the same hand blender~one in orange and one in aqua. It's great!

JoyBugaloo said...

I was tempted by the orange one, Merium, but purple is my signature color! ;-)

P.S. Why does one need multiple stick blenders, pray tell? ;-)