For some of us, there is an actual Soup Season- one of my best friends wonders why I bother to post soup recipes in the summer, “out of season”. I know I’m not alone in being someone who loves soup all year-long, but the soup I love has to have variety, unique flavors and ease of prep in the kitchen. Roasted Garlic Soup has all of those requirements, and for you traditionalists, this is a great soup for “soup season” as well.
Roasted Garlic Soup is something I’ve wanted to accomplish for a long time and I’m glad I finally took the plunge. This recipe starts with a creamy garlic soup base (since it uses very little cream in the recipe, almond milk works great for a vegan option), and builds into whatever your particular taste might be by adding options like russet potato chunks, Parmesan Crips, or toasted crostini croutons… or all of these options.
Over 40 cloves of garlic are used in this recipe, however Roasted Garlic Soup is not overpowering, but really smooth and earthy. For those of you who REALLY want your garlic fix, I suggest topping everything with additional quick-sauteed minced garlic.
Adding both roasted and uncooked garlic to this soup-
When garlic is cooked until soft, it loses some of the sharp, almost spicy flavor of the raw cloves. Plus the slight browning of the roasted cloves adds a bit of nutty flavor to the soup. Using roasted and raw cloves in the soup creates a complex flavor that adds to the success of this recipe.
As mentioned before, there are so many variations for garnish and added ingredients for this soup and I recommend them all. If you’re looking for a chunky soup, the potatoes are delicious and hearty. The rustic croutons soak up the yumminess plus they add a nice crunch. But if you want a simple creamy soup, the creamy garlic soup base stands on its own and we eat it that way often.
…and the Parmesan Crisps add a look of impressive adornment, and they couldn’t be easier to make!
So, whether you make the creamy, light soup option or load it up with lots of texture and additional flavor, it’s sure to please… In or out of ‘Soup Season’.
Roasted Garlic Soup
- 26 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium onions, sliced (about 2 generous cups)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 18 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 4 cups chicken broth, low-sodium or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup whipping cream half and half, oat or almond milk work well
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large russet potato, not peeled, cut into large chunks (optional)
- 4 lemon wedges
- Optional variations and other garnishes- See instructions for how to incorporate
- Toasted croutons, drizzled in oil, salt and pepper then baked at 350F degrees until golden
- 8 cloves fresh garlic, minced and sauteed just until fragrant in olive oil, dashed with pepper
- Parmesan Crisps recipe below
- For the roasted garlic, this can be done a day ahead:
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Cut the bottom portion off where the garlic attaches to the base. To make peeling the garlic easy, you can smash them a bit then the peel will come right off. Place garlic in small glass baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and add a dash each of salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Cover baking dish tightly with a lid or foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Transfer cloves to small bowl. If making the day before, place cooled garlic in a plastic bag or covered dish and refrigerate until needed. By the way, this roasted garlic is fabulous anytime for a garlic paste or just for snacking on the roasted garlic cloves. The oil, salt and pepper, and roasting method create a fabulous treat.
To prepare the soup
- Melt butter in a heavy, large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and thyme and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the roasted garlic and the 18 raw garlic cloves and cook a couple of minutes to release some of the raw garlic oils.
- If you're adding the russet potato chunks, add now as well.
- Add chicken or vegetable broth; cover and simmer until garlic is very tender, about 20 minutes. If you're making the Parmesan Cheese Crisps, make them now while the soup is simmering.
- If you added the russet potato chunks, remove them after the 20 minute simmer and place in a small bowl or on a plate while you puree the rest of the ingredients. Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth or puree with an immersion blender. Return potato chunks to the creamed soup.
- Return soup to the saucepan, add cream, or whatever milk you are using, and bring to a very low simmer just to reheat, being careful not to curdle the milk. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Taste and add more to your liking.
- Divide the grated 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese among 4 bowls and ladle soup over. Each bowl will get about 2 tablespoons of cheese.
- Squeeze juice of 1 lemon wedge into each bowl and serve.
- Serve in individual bowls garnished with more grated Parmesan, Parmesan Crips or toasted croutons, or the additional minced sauteed garlic.
- How to make Parmesan Crisp garnish: Heat your oven to 400F degrees, Pour a heaping tablespoon of grated Parmesan onto a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet and pat down just a bit. For color or extra flavor, you could sprinkle the cheese mound with herbs, black pepper or red pepper flakes. Repeat with as much Parmesan crisps as desired, spacing the spoonfuls about a 1/2 inch apart. Bake until golden and crisp. Since ovens vary, this time can be anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes (mine finished closer to the 10 minute mark). The cheese will bubble quite a bit, but just keep cooking until the crisps darken. Cool, then using a spatula, carefully scrape the crips off the baking sheet and serve with the soup.
- The roasted garlic can be made a day ahead of making the soup and this method for roasting garlic creates delicious little garlic nuggets to enjoy for any reason or to make a garlic paste for hearty bread.
- The recipe is doubled easily and can be refrigerated for 2 or 3 days before serving.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.