Creamy Garlic Soup

This creamy garlic soup is a welcome change from the ordinary and staid winter soup. No, squash, no pumpkin, no potato, not here. Yet, the soup has that familiar velvety texture and creamy flavor, so loved by chefs in these colder months. Oddly enough the soup, when finished, is strangely reminiscent of a creamy mushroom soup, a fact that should please all of those who doubt that garlic soup is a good idea to begin with.

The garlic is slow roasted until golden and almost caramelized, which adds a depth to the flavor that you would not otherwise expect and cooks away the sometimes sharp, unpleasant taste of garlic.

As for ease of use, the limited ingredients and no frills recipe are crowd friendly. The recipe is easy to prepare and easy to scale and on Thanksgiving, what more could you ask for? All you need is a cuisinart and a little patience and before you know it the incredible smell of roasted garlic will be wafting through your kitchen and people will be lining up to help you taste it.

As a bonus, I would wager that come summertime this creamy garlic soup will also be wonderful served chilled and with a few crusts of bread. 

Creamy Garlic Soup (serves 4)

40 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups sliced shallots
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 quart chicken broth
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
paprika to garnish

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a small oven proof dish scatter the garlic cloves and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the garlic for 45 minutes until golden, soft and very fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside. In a large pot and over a medium high heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter. When the butter stops foaming, add the shallots and thyme and let cook until just beginning to turn a light golden color and soften. Add the garlic and chicken broth. Cover and let simmer on a very low heat for 1 hour. Remove the mixture from the heat and puree until no chunks of garlic or onion remain. Place the pureed soup back onto the heat, adding the heavy cream. Reheat the mixture on medium low and when you are ready to serve garnish with thyme leaves and paprika.