Garlic – in my opinion, humankind’s greatest culinary discovery. The unassuming little bulb is the start of so many wonderful dishes, or in this case, the star ingredient.
Garlic soup takes many forms, particularly in European cuisine. This version is loosely based on the Spanish sopa de ajo, but with the garlic roasted to bring out its sweetness, and the addition of wine to add depth to the flavour. It’s so warming and comforting on a cold winter night.
We had this soup once with eggs added and once without, and it’s just as good either way. And of course, without eggs it’s vegan. Most recipes of this type also remove the crusts from the bread, but if you use a nice sourdough or other artisan bread it does add incredible umami flavour if they’re left on. You’ll be puréeing it and the crusts will make it thicker than without, so you can adjust the consistency to your liking with more stock.
Serves 4 as a meal, 6 to 8 as an appetiser
Preparation: 1 hour for the roasted garlic;
30 minutes for the soup
1 head garlic
4 Tbsp olive oil + extra for roasting garlic
200g (about 3 cups packed) cubed stale bread
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
125ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (optional)
1 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 190°C / 375°F / Gas Mark 5.
Roasting garlic method 1
Without separating the cloves from the head, pull off as much of the papery skin from the garlic as possible. Trim the top off the garlic head with a serrated knife just enough so the tops of all the cloves are exposed, place on a double layer of foil and drizzle with olive oil, about a teaspoon. Wrap the foil tightly in a pouch and put it in the oven for an hour. Let cool enough to handle, then gently squeeze the cloves out of the papery skins into a bowl and mash with a fork.
Roasting garlic method 2
Separate and peel the garlic cloves, place them in a ramekin, drizzle with oil, cover the ramekin with foil and roast for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool a little then mash with a fork.
Heat oil in a medium-large saucepan over medium heat, add bread and cook stirring occasionally until bread is coated with oil and just starting to toast, about 3 minutes. Remove some of the bread for croutons, as desired.
Add mashed garlic and both types of paprika, season well with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Add wine and cook until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Add stock and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes.
Use a hand blender to purée the soup until smooth. Adjust the consistency with more stock, if desired.
Optional: while stirring, slowly drizzle in the beaten eggs, then cook the soup for a further 2 – 3 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with croutons and parsley before serving.