Here’s the deal with this garlic soup. There’s a restaurant up in Vermont (which shall remain unnamed) that makes a delicious garlic soup. It’s creamy and mild and, when we dine at that restaurant, my husband always has a bowl as a first course.
Well, Vermont is pretty far away. And, to be frank, I’ve never been crazy about anything else we’ve had at the restaurant, which gets marks for effort and philosophy but needs serious help with execution. So I decided to try replicating the soup for my husband. The first time, I thickened it with bread, like the classic sopas de ajo from Spain and Portugal. It was delicious, but the texture was wrong even after puréeing. The second time, I tried an egg and cream liaison. Too rich. The third time was the charm. I don’t know if this is quite how they make it – I think theirs may be richer – but this is a perfect garlic soup.
The soup may thicken as it sits. To thin, add milk or a little beef stock. Do not add cream.
If you don’t want to make the garlic confit – and you should, because it has so many uses – then poach 1 1/4 c of peeled garlic cloves in barely simmering beef stock, covered, until completely tender. A caveat – I haven’t tried this method, so I can’t say whether it will produce equivalent results. It will, however, take the sharp edge off the garlic.
The soup is pretty rich, even though I think it’s less gut-busting than the original. Serve it in cups rather than bowls.
1 1/4 cups garlic confit
1 medium onion, diced 1/4″
2 1/2 c beef stock
2 bay leaves
4 branches thyme
1/2 c cream
2 c milk
Place a sauce pot over medium heat and add the butter. When melted and bubbling, add the onion. Sweat the onion until tender. Add the garlic confit and the beef stock; add the bay leaves and thyme branches. Simmer 20 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and all the thyme branches and transfer to a Vitaprep or blender. Purée until thick and completely smooth (you can achieve better results by allowing the mixture to rest in the blender and re-blending several times). Transfer back to a clean sauce pot. Bring back to a simmer; add the milk and cream and bring back to a simmer; simmer 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust with milk or cream to a desired thickness if necessary.
Serve in cups and garnish with chives. If you had a white truffle, you could shave just a little over this soup.