The Stinking Rose. I’ve always been a little apprehensive of garlic. I know that it is terribly healthy to eat garlic, which, besides warding off vampires (and miscellaneous friends), is also supposed to ward off colds and a variety of ailments. I actually knew someone who would eat fresh chopped garlic straight, just to prevent herself from falling sick. My first face-on encounter with an overabundance of garlic was at the Stinking Rose, a restaurant that features garlic, the first time I visited Los Angeles. It was also on that trip that hubs and I discovered for the first time what it was like to drive down the wrong street. We had hired a car and had to return the rental to the airport. We tried to fill the gas tank up before driving into the airport but ended up in a shady neighborhood. We discovered that we had pulled up into a gas station manned by someone in a booth protected by metal bars and bulletproof glass, and we were freaked out when we discovered that the other cars that were filling up at the gas station were riddled with bullet holes. We scooted out of the place pretty fast, much faster than how we had exited from the Stinking Rose.
It wasn’t at the Stinking Rose, but years later at a Spanish restaurant in NY that I discovered garlic soup. It was aromatic and robust in flavour and I was finally convinced that garlic could be palatable in large amounts. It was with a memory of that soup that I decided that I should try to reproduce the experience.
Roasting garlic is the best way to take the edge off the pungent flavour. Adding some roasted garlic into mashed potatoes, for example, brings the dish from simple to sublime. The roasted garlic in this soup gives a surprisingly pleasant punch to this creamy soup. Definitely a soup with wow factor. Even kid #2 who is very flavour-sensitive and resistant to trying anything new, fell in love with the soup. This recipe is a definite keeper. 😀
Roasted Garlic Soup
- 3 heads of garlic, split into cloves (about 30 cloves), unpeeled
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 head of garlic, split into cloves (about 10 cloves), peeled.
- 2 leeks, white parts chopped into thin circles
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tbsp butter
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- 1/2 cup cream
- 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- 2 tbsp chives, chopped
- 4 wedges of lemon
- Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
- Toss the unpeeled garlic cloves in olive oil in a baking or glass dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and cool. Squeeze out the soft roasted garlic into a bowl and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Sauté the leeks for 5 minutes. Add the chopped thyme and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add the fresh and roasted garlic and sauté for another 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and simmer for another 20 – 30 minutes.
- Blend the soup using a hand blender.
- Add the cream and simmer for 3 minutes more. Add the pepper.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle 1 tbsp of Parmesan cheese into each bowl. Ladle in the soup and top with chopped chives. Serve hot with a wedge of lemon. The soup is well balanced with a good squeeze of lemon juice.
This recipe was mostly inspired by the roasted garlic and Parmesan soup from Epicurious. To me, the garlic soup stands strong on its own and the Parmesan cheese is a very optional extra.