The other night, I was watching The Best Thing Ever Ate on the Food Network that spotlighted chefs from around the world describing the best garlic-heavy dishes they’ve ever had. I was especially intrigued by Simon Majumdar‘s description of a creamy garlic soup from Bayona Restaurant in New Orleans. The recipe and method he described sounded vague yet doable: combining lots of roasted garlic with herbs and broth. So I came up with this simple recipe and added in some caramelized shallots and buttery sage croutons at the end, which really introduced an interesting and complimentary texture to this rich and rustic soup.
6 heads of garlic
4 TB Earth Balance
2 cups onion, chopped
2 tsp rubbed sage, divided
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp salt
4 cups Imagine Organic No-Chicken broth
2 cups of stale bread, (I used an italian loaf) cut into 1X1 inch pieces
4 shallots, sliced thinly into rings
Separate the cloves from 5 heads of garlic. Do not peel. Place them in a medium-sized glass pyrex casserole dish and saturate well with plenty of olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil and place in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and give the garlic a good stir and bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes more. Let the garlic cool and then separate the garlic from the skins into a small bowl. Set aside.
Take the remaining head of garlic—separate and peel. Cut each clove in half and then smash each one with the flat end of a knife. In a medium-sized stock pot, add 3 TB of Earth Balance over medium heat. Throw in the raw garlic and saute for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure the garlic does not burn.
Add in the onions, 1 tsp of the rubbed sage, thyme and salt and saute for 10 minutes more. Then add back in the roasted garlic and broth. Simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat, making sure that the soup does not come to a boil. Blend well in the pot, using an immersion blender. Reduce the heat and let sit over the lowest heat possible on your stovetop while you prepare the shallots and croutons.
While the soup is simmering, make the caramelized shallots: heat 2 TB olive oil over medium-low heat and add in the shallots. Let them slowly get brown and only stir every 5 minutes or so. After about 20 minutes, they should be nicely caramelized.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss the bread cubes in 1 TB of melted Earth balance, 1 tsp of the rubbed sage, and a dash of salt and pepper. Bake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes.
To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the caramelized shallots and croutons.