Fortify yourself during winter with this easy garlic soup recipe
We all know that there are four astronomical seasons in the year: spring, summer, autumn and winter. But, in our daily lives, we divide up the year into so many more seasons: the holidays just past, New Year's resolutions have just begun; it's back-to-school season, tax season, vacation season, and on and on. And many of those specialized seasons overlap each other.
Right now, we're in a real seasonal pileup, as resolutions and cold and flu season come right on top of winter. With that in mind, I'd like to share a simple recipe to help you deal with all the many demands this time of year may bring: my Cream of Garlic Soup.
First, consider your resolutions. You may have sworn that you'll save some money in 2018 by enjoying more home-cooked meals. This recipe will help you achieve that goal by producing delicious food from inexpensive ingredients -- primarily garlic cloves and potatoes -- in only about half an hour. The soup may also help you reach a weight-loss goal, because it's a dish that satisfies the appetite by being sipped slowly, spoonful by spoonful. (And you can cut the fat and calories from the relatively small amount of cream, just 3 tablespoons per serving, by substituting buttermilk.)
Cold and flu season brings its own stuffy, sniffling challenges. But garlic, an abundant ingredient in this recipe, has a long anecdotal history as a popular folk remedy for such illnesses. While medical researchers are still divided on whether or not garlic actually works to fight viruses and relieve congestion, some studies have found evidence that those who eat it regularly get ill less often and suffer less severe symptoms. And while I know the old joke about how someone who eats a lot of garlic can't get close enough to other people to pass along germs, the garlic in this soup actually turns mild and sweet tasting thanks to blanching in boiling water as the first step in the recipe.
Finally, there's winter itself. To me, few foods chase away the chill of this season more effectively than a hot bowl of soup to start a meal. To help you get the most flavorful results, I'm also happy to share my simple recipe for super-quick rich chicken stock, which takes minutes to prepare and will help make store-bought stock or broth taste surprisingly close to homemade. Start with a good-quality product that's lower in sodium. Simmer the stock while you're prepping other ingredients for whatever recipe in which you'll use it. In addition to the enhancements I list, you can also include leftover chicken bones, other vegetable trimmings or other mild fresh herbs.
Here's to a happy, thrifty, healthy, warming and flavorful bowlful in 2018!
CREAM OF GARLIC SOUP
For the soup:
2 cups (500 ml) peeled garlic cloves