I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day, a holiday that seems to be designed to exclude the uncoupled. And since I’m spending this Valentine’s Day alone, I decided that I wanted to create a recipe so amazing, so unctuous and rich, that I would be happy not to have to share one bite.
And, since garlic is generally contraindicated on romantic date nights, I knew it should have a starring role in my dinner. My other requirements were that I didn’t want to use any fancy ingredients that would require a last minute trip to the specialty market, and I didn’t want to leave you with a sink full of dishes.
The answer, of course, was garlic soup. Garlic soup is complex and elemental at the same time. My version is also as healthy as can be, so you can feel good about eating it.
You’ll need four or five heads of garlic for this soup. When buying garlic, look for heads that are firm and tight.
Separate the heads of garlic into cloves, but there’s no need to peel them Plonk them into a baking dish with a couple springs of thyme and a teaspoon of olive oil. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and pop it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (around 180 Celsius) for one hour.
Carefully remove the foil and allow the garlic to cool for about 20 minutes.
When the garlic is cool to the touch, squeeze the pulp into a medium pot, discarding the paper peels. This is the fiddliest part of this recipe and also the messiest. You will surely have roasted garlic all over your hands before your done! Just keep telling yourself how amazing this soup is going to taste.
Once you’ve finished squishing and washed your hands, use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon to mash all the garlic cloves into a smooth paste.
Now throw a bit of flour onto the garlic paste- about 2 teaspoons- and stir thoroughly to incorporate the flour into the garlic. It’s really important to get all the flour into the garlic before proceeding to the next step.
Now for the liquid. You’ll need four cups of stock, either chicken or vegetable, preferably homemade but good quality store bought will do just fine if it’s all you have. If you do use boxed, adding a heaping teaspoon of Better than Bouillon will perk it up.
Using a whisk, slowly incorporate the stock into the garlic-flour paste, then set over a medium-high burner. Allow the soup to simmer and thicken for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pot from heat and stir in a good squeeze of fresh lemon. The lemon with brighten the soup immensely.
Serve with a slice of toasted bread, a grating of parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper.
Anti-Valentine’s Day Garlic Soup
4-5 heads of garlic
3 spring of thyme
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons flour
4 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken)
pepper, parmasen and toast for serving
Serves 1 (with 3 servings left over) or 4 if you’re feeling generous