Garlic is a wonderful herb and culinary ingredient that has been used for thousands of years for its flavor and health benefits. I use it in my kitchen often in Italian dishes and take it raw to ward off illness.
According to Mountain Rose Herbs:
Garlic has been used medicinally, and as a culinary ingredient, for over 5000 years. World folklore is littered with references to its ability to protect us, such as in ancient Greece, where mid-wives hung cloves of garlic on the windows to ward off evil spirits during childbirth. Ancient Koreans ate pickled garlic before passing through the mountains to keep tigers away as it was believed that they hated the smell. The Egyptians used to swear on cloves of garlic in the same way we swear on the Bible today as an act of indicating an honest testimony. It was so highly valued that 15 pounds of garlic could purchase a healthy male slave. The Greeks also used it extensively: These health promoting benefits may be experienced by using garlic as both a food ingredient and a dietary supplement. Garlic is odiferous, tasty, and medicinal. The first medical textbook known to have discussed the use of garlic in medicine was the Collection of Commentaries on the Classic of the Materia Medica (Ben Cao Zhing Zhi Ju), written over 1,500 years ago.
Garlic was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for its health supporting benefits. As early as the 1800s there was scientific evidence that bacteria died when they came in contact with garlic and recent research shows that garlic can strengthen the immune system and kill illness causing viruses and bacteria.
Garlic soup is a traditional recipe found in several different cultures (Spanish, French, Polish and Mexican) that was traditionally thought to ward off illness.
I found a recipe in an old French cookbook and wanted to recreate this favorite, especially during cold and flu season. What surprised me most is the delicious and savory flavor of this soup. I expected an overpowering garlic taste, but the added step of roasting the garlic creates a rich and almost slightly sweet flavor.
Soothing Garlic Soup
Yield 6 +
- 4-5 heads of garlic (45-50 cloves)
- 1/4 cup high quality olive oil
- 2 onions
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 quart of chicken broth
- 2 cups of coconut milk or other milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaf or 2 teaspoons of fresh
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley leaf (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (optional)
- 1 fresh lemon (for garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the heads of garlic in half across the cloves but do not peel them.
- Pour the olive oil into an oven safe dish and place the garlic head halves cut side down on the dish.Cover with an oven safe lid or foil.
- Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until garlic cloves are fragrant and starting to brown. To remove the garlic cloves, carefully pick up the shell of the garlic heads. The cloves should slightly stick to the pan, making peeling easy.
- While garlic is roasting, melt butter in a large pot and add sliced onions. Saute over medium heat, stirring constantly until onions are translucent and golden. Add thyme, oregano, basil, salt and pepper and saute for 2 minutes.
- When garlic is done roasting, add peeled cloves to the onion mixture in the pot.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and add coconut milk or other milk.
- Using a stainless steel immersion blender, carefully blend the soup until smooth.
- Serve warm.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and chives and squeeze a lemon wedge over each bowl.
What is your favorite soup?