Roasted Garlic Soup

Break time from trying to figure out what Wendi is up to (was a supporting character, has grabbed the thread and insists on being a co-protagonist. mutter). I see I missed Tamara’s Thursday Night Exchange as the category is one of my favorites: soup. Since I grossed her out with my pig snout/split pea soup last time, I thought I’d make belated amends with this one.

Now like a lot of my soups, there’s the absolute basic, and then there are the variations that can be done to increase.

BASIC:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 heads of garlic
2 tablespoons flour
1 quart of water.
1 sprig fresh thyme OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
salt to taste.

Phase I: roast cloves
preheat oven to 350 (F)
Put olive oil in small flat roasting pan so it covers the bottom.
Without peeling, split the garlic heads and put cut side down in the oil
Roast approximately 1 hour, till garlic is browned on cut end and soft to touch.
Lift peels from cloves.

Phase II: make garlic roux
Pour oil from roasting into sauce pan.
Add flour and mix thoroughly.
Add the cloves, mash and mix thoroughly.
turn on burner to medium-medium high and fry roux for approximately one minute. Basically just till it’s hot and you begin to smell the frying garlic.

Phase III: Make soup.
Add the water and thyme to the roux, stir thoroughly, and heat (stirring frequently) till it thickens.
Salt to taste and serve.

NOT a hard soup, not really, and quite good (and inexpensive), but there are several options for improvement and delight.

The first is probably obvious: substitute broth for the water. Chicken or vegetable are best, beef and fish work, pork does not work (to my taste).

The second is to add four to eight (depending on taste) minced cloves to the roux before bringing the heat. It adds the ‘fresh’ garlic to the roasted garlic, creating a more complex taste.

Third: caramelize some sliced onions. The only way I’ve really had success with this is to cook them separately and add them when I’m adding the broth.

Fourth: Noodles. Angel hair pasta works best for my preference, and I tend to break it into 2 to 4 inch lengths. Add them when you add the liquid and it should be done about right by the time the soup is thick enough.

Fifth: Feel free to use other herbs. Thyme just ‘fits’ for me, but you can go with an amazing breadth or combination solely based on your preferences.

Finally, I’m one of those who think you can almost never go wrong with mushrooms; sliced or whole, fresh or roasted, go with your personal taste. Realize that any guests will think you’ve made a mushroom soup with a great garlic flavor instead of a garlic soup with mushrooms. Just smile and eat some more soup.

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