"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Cure for a Cold

We have been getting bombarded with colds this week.  Nothing major, just of the inconvenient better-keep-you-home-from-school variety. (AKA - the you-little-germ-factory variety.)  In an attempt to boost immune systems all around, I decided it was time to bring in the big guns.  A straight-up, super simple, garlic soup that would have those cold bugs scurrying for cover.  Take that!

I have at least four versions of a garlic soup recipe at home, but I hadn't made any of them, until two days ago.  And let me tell you:  this soup is delicious.  Exactly the thing for a poorly child (or parent), to soothe a sore throat, and warm the shivers.  Composed of a very few comforting, healthy ingredients, it is delicately, sweetly garlic-flavored.  Despite the large amount of garlic, it takes on a lovely mellowness, from simmering away for half an hour.  (Although the garlic breath will be something afterward...at least for those around you who haven't consumed this soup.)

Without further ado, here's my adaptation of several different recipes for garlic soup, working with the ingredients I had at home at the time.

Garlic Soup - serves 4-6, as large portions, or 6-8, as a mug of soup

1 large garlic bulb
1 fresh bay leaf
1 large sprig, or a couple small sprigs, fresh thyme
2 quarts chicken stock
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten*

*Adding egg yolks once the soup is done simmering, creates a velvety, rich texture.  The more you add, the thicker and velvetier the soup.  I added two to mine, not wanting to put off the little ones from the texture, but add whatever you like.  It is very important though, that you add them only once the soup is off the heat, and that they are tempered, see below.*

Bring a small pot of water to boil, and break the garlic bulb apart into cloves.  Discard any loose papery skins, but there's no need to peel them completely yet.  Toss the garlic cloves into the boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes.  Drain, and allow to cool, until they are at a temperature you can handle touching.  Now remove the skins, which will come off very easily.  Roughly chop the garlic.

In a large soup pot, or dutch oven, add the stock, garlic, and herbs.  Bring to a boil, and then let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  Remove lid, turn off the heat, and taste for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper, and fish out the herbs, and discard.

Now, you'll temper the egg yolks, so they don't scramble when added to the soup.  Scoop a ladle of soup into the bowl of egg yolks, and whisk constantly, for about a minute, to slowly bring the yolks up in temperature, without scrambling them.  Add another ladle or two of soup to the yolk mixture, whisking away, then slowly drizzle the yolk mixture into the pot of soup, continuing to whisk for another minute.  The texture should be smooth and velvety-looking.

Any leftovers should be reheated very gently, taking care not to boil.  I found that the soup separated a bit in the fridge, but came back together nicely once heated over low heat, on the stove.  I would advise not using the microwave to reheat this, as the egg may scramble.

Just the thing to comfort a cold...and much easier than a pot of homemade chicken soup.  Plus, as an added bonus, you shouldn't have any trouble with vampires.

It looked like that kind of night last night, after all.  Keep the germs and monsters at bay!

Feel well.

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