40 Watt Garlic Soup

From Robin Linn

Serves 4

[Ed: I was struck by how much potent garlic flavor this soup delivered without being the least bit bitter. Robin warned that the garlic overload might hit me later in the evening, but I suffered no ill effects. In fact, I wish I had gone back for more.]

Ingredients

40 garlic cloves, 1 reserved and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/4 cups roughly chopped onions
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 sage leaf
dash of cayenne
1/4 cup dry sherry
3 1/2 cups chicken or veggie stock
1/2 cup whipping cream or milk
1 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese (half for serving)
1/2 loaf french-style bread, ripped up, crusts removed
lemon juice to taste
salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place garlic clove in glass baking dish (reserving one). Add olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake until garlic is golden brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. Squeeze garlic between fingertips to release cloves. Set aside.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, sage, garlic slices, cayenne, and a dash of salt. Cook until onions begin to brown. Add the sherry, scraping up any brown bits. Add the roasted garlic and stock. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes.

Add half the bread and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn heat off, and using an immersion blender puree soup until smooth. Add remaining bread as needed for thickness. Return to heat, add cream or milk and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and add half the parmesan. (Can be prepared ahead.)

Before serving add lemon juice to taste and any desired extras:

spinach or escarole
croutons
garlic chips
pasta
chives

Serve with remaining Parmesan.

Enjoy!

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