Friday, September 26, 2014

Light Garlic Soup—from Spain

Weather became finally cold enough, at least in the evenings, to think about a bowl of hot soup. All the garlic soups I ate were rich and creamy. They usually either included cheese, cream, eggs, flour, or sometimes, all of them in one recipe. But this garlic soup is very different. It comes from Spanish cuisine. And, when I was making it, I even had doubts if these two basic ingredients used in it—chicken stock and garlic—can really produce anything tasty.

In less than half an hour the soup was ready. When I tasted it, I was surprised how light and good it was. Definitely garlic surfaced in the taste but not too strongly. It had also a very intriguing taste coming from a little bit of sherry added to the soup. I served it with a piece of toasted wholewheat French bread, which added some substance to the delicate texture.

I tested the soup on my son who is a big soup lover. And he liked it a lot. So, today I give you a bowl of light soup that can be a nice start to the upcoming cold season.

Light Garlic Soup

6–8 garlic heads (should make about 1 and 1/2 cup of clean garlic cloves),
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil,
6 cups chicken stock,
1/3 cup sherry,
1 tsp red chili peppers,
1 tsp ground cumin,
a pinch of saffron powder (if you use saffron threads soak them in the stock for about 20 minutes, then discard them),
salt and pepper to taste,
6 slices of French or Italian country bread.

1. Separate and peel off garlic cloves. In a heavy-duty pot heat the olive oil and add garlic cloves. Cook them on a low heat for about 15 minutes, until they become soft. Do not let them to turn brown. When garlic becomes soft (almost buttery) remove it from the oil and keep aside.

2. Add chili pepper to the oil and heat for about a minute. Pour in chicken stock, sherry, cumin, and saffron. Let it simmer for about 3 minutes.
3. Crush cooked garlic with a fork and add to the chicken stock. Cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes. After that time garlic should almost melt in the stock but if, there are some bigger pieces left, purée them with a hand blender.
4. Season the soup with salt and pepper as needed.
5. Toast the bread and put one in each of 6 bowls. Divide the soup between bowls and serve hot.