Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Return of the Garlic Soup

I started cooking when I was in high school.  That's when I remember starting to buy my own cookbooks and experimenting.  Once I got into my early 20's I was hooked on reading recipes and trying anything that sounded good. My sister, my cousin and a couple friends formed a supper club.  We met once a week and the rules were simple:  the cook decided on the dish and bought whatever food it involved and the others brought all the booze.  At some point during that time of my life, I came across a recipe for "Garlic Soup."  It was crazy simple and I've always remembered how much I loved it.  But, I lost the recipe.  I could remember the ingredients, but not the amounts.  Garlic soup had escaped me.

Fast forward to my 30s.  Neil and I went to Portugal with friends back in 2001 ( I think!).  We fell in love with that country and made a pact that when we got married, we'd come back for our honeymoon.  So, in 2004, we did.  One of the most awesome foods in Portugal is 'frango' which is a simple grilled, or rotisserie, chicken that is served with frites.  I know, the thought of grilled chicken doesn't exactly get my pulse racing either, but believe me when I tell you, this chicken will knock your socks off.  I'm not sure if they marinate it or if it has something to do with the white wood smoke that you see rising from all the restaurants' 'frango' chimneys, but it's the most incredible chicken on the planet.  After our first couple of days of frango and frites, it was time for some vegetables.  I ordered a bowl of vegetable soup in this little cafe along the Atlantic coast highway we were following.  Once again, this does not sound very exciting, but their vegetable soup is nothing like ours.  It's pureed...and every restaurant's is different.  Some are more green, some are heavier on the potato, others are a garden variety but they are all pureed so they are silky, creamy and smooth.  It became a quest.  We ordered it in every restaurant we visited to see whose was best.

I've always wanted to figure out how to duplicate this soup.  So many time when I've brainstormed about it, my mind would go back to that garlic soup memory.  That would be the perfect base and then I could add whatever leftover vegetables I had.  But, then I'd get distracted and it never got made.  A few days ago I made a roast pork loin with carrots and onions.  I started thinking about the garlic soup again because I had so many carrots leftover.  Even though I'd tried to find this recipe before using the Internet, I thought I'd give it another try.  I thought back...in the early 90's,  what was I reading?  A-Ha!  Bon Appetit!  So, I got on Epicurious and tried again.  Guess what?  I found it!  Garlic Soup Lives!
Insanely simple ingredients bubbling away

After a few turns in the blender

Today, I have made 2 batches using my leftover carrots.  I still love this soup so much. It's just perfect when you top it off with a nice little swoosh of heavy cream.   And, it is the perfect base for adding any other vegetable in order to mimic the Portuguese veggie soups.  Disregard the lame reviews that people gave the recipe.  I don't  know what's wrong with them. 

One side note before I conclude.  I asked Neil to pick up potatoes and 2 heads of garlic for me.  You know how "they" say that men always think bigger is better?  Well, take a look at the garlic he brought home.  Enough said...
Yep folks, that's 3 heads of ELEPHANT garlic

1 comment:

  1. NOTE TO SELF: Do not sit by the Akres on Sunday.



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