It's Weekend Herb Blogging, the brain child of the lovely Kalyn. Every weekend bloggers are corralled over at her site, Kalyn's Kitchen. So, head over there to see all the herbal possibilities. My herb of choice for this weekend was an easy decision to make. The fresh thyme in the produce section was the best I've seen in months. And I wanted to make something simple, but full of flavor. So here it is, Fresh Thyme and Garlic Soup, easy to make and great fun to eat. The recipe calls for four large heads of garlic, which can astound people. Part of the fun in serving this soup is telling people how much garlic they're eating and watching their surprised reaction. They can taste its presence, but it doesn't shout GARLIC.
As any garlic lover knows, baked or braised whole cloves of garlic have a mellow flavor. In this recipe four heads of garlic are tossed into a pot, along with stock and herbs, and simmered until the cloves are soft. This may not be the easiest soup to make, but it comes close. It took me approximately five minutes to assemble the ingredients and toss them into a pot. There was no chopping or sauteing. When the garlic was soft, it was a quick and easy job to puree it into a rich tasting, but low calorie soup.
I think the garnish on a soup is crucial. It makes a good soup into something special. I brushed olive oil on slices of french bread and baked them until they were large, crisp croutons, which were then placed on top of the soup. The soup could also be enriched with cream, but it really didn't need it.
Fresh Thyme and Garlic Soup (James Peterson)
4 heads of garlic
12 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 quart chicken stock
juice of one lemon or lime
slices of stale or toasted french bread
Break up the heads of garlic into cloves. Throw the papery membrane that comes off in you hands when you separate them away, but don't bother peeling them. Add a whole jalapeno pepper if you wish.
Put the thyme into a 4 quart pot, along with the garlic and the stock. Cover and bring the soup to a slow simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes until the garlic is very soft.
Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor and press through a strainer. Add lime or lemon juice and season with salt or pepper.
Place the toasted bread on top of each serving. You can also add butter or olive oil or chopped parsley on top.