Monday, June 15, 2009

New Season Garlic and Bread Soup

From "The Whole Beast", page 16

It really doesn't get easier than this. Basically you boil (then simmer) whole heads of garlic with chicken stock until the garlic is tender (about 45 minutes on low heat... covered). Pass the garlic through a food mill (or ricer), return the resulting pate to the broth and then season. Serve with dried day old white bread.
I have two observations though:
I think the recipe requires more than the amount of chicken stock it calls for, especially considering that it is supposed to be for 6 people. To which I should add that the recipe should also mention that while the soup is simmering is should be covered to reduce any evaporation, since you have so little broth to begin with.
Finally, I wish I was clear on what it means to use white it Wonder bread or just a lean dough? I used the guts of a loaf of Pugliese bread, which is a classic Italian bread, white as snow on the inside. Since I made this soup without reading ahead, I had no day old bread which is what it recommends, so I just cubed the guts of the Pugliese (by guts I mean the crumb without the crust) and tossed them in a dehydrator for about 30 minutes until they felt like day old bread.
It is important when eating this soup to make sure the bread goes in at the very last minute so that you can in fact have a secondary texture. You can of course go the opposite way and let the bread absorb all of the broth (note: dry old bread absorbs moisture faster than fresh bread, which is why day old bread is recommended for making French toast since it will absorb more custard than fresh bread), which turns into whole nother soup than what you started with. I very much appreciate how simple and straight forward this soup is, and I would make it again. What would I add or do differently? Well, definitely add more broth to begin with (I ended up adding more broth as the soup cooked) and cover it while it simmers. I don't know about adding anything, but I think this could be really nice with a fried egg on top.

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