My paternal Grandfather, the legend Barry Heathcote always used to insist he didn't like garlic, despite his favourite cuisines being chinese and thai food. This avoidance became a regular source of entertainment for my Mum who would put garlic into almost every meal she served him. He'd often proclaim how much he enjoyed the meal, but if someone let on there was garlic in it, game over! Knife and fork down, ruined.
When it comes to this dish, there's no shying away from it. Even if I called it 'vegetable soup' there'd be no fooling Granddad Barry; Garlic is the main event here, and it's one of those dishes that requires unanimous participation for obvious reasons.
However, because the garlic is gently cooked, the punchiness is more subtle than you'd expect. It's more sweet than tangy. But you do have to enjoy that garlicky hum. Because it sticks around.
I tried this soup as an amuse bouche in a bistro in a little village near Bordeaux about ten years ago. It was incredible. I never forgot it, and I've been meaning to make it all that time.
This was my first attempt and I wasn't disappointed. I decided after contracting a persistent cough this past month something needed to be done, so natural antibiotic food was the next step!
Serves: 2 People (up to 6 for little tasters)
Time: 25 Minutes
* indicates optional ingredients
2 tsp fat (I used beef tallow but butter or cold pressed rapeseed would work too)
4 heads of garlic sliced in half (try to keep the cloves in tact within the half head)
2 leeks sliced into half cm rings
1 carrot peel, diced
1 cup / 230ml filtered water
sprig of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
A good Salt (Sea or Pink)
* tsp of sour cream or double cream
* handful chopped chives
In a heavy based frying pan heat the fat on a medium heat.
Once heated place the leeks and half heads of garlic face down into the pan so the exposed cloves are on the heat. If a clove has gone rogue just carefully place it down separately but don't burn yourself!
Stir the leeks gently on the heat until they're softened, check the garlic so that it isn't browning too much, if it is add a little water to the pan and let it reduce off.
Once they're cooked through remove the garlic heads from the pan and pop each clove out of it's skin. They should pop out quite easily once they're cooked.
Return all the naked cloves to the pan, add the herbs and carrot, water and broth and bring to a boil.
Reduce down to a simmer for 15 minutes and season with a generous pinch of salt and ground black pepper.
Remove the herbs and blend, ideally with a hand blender as you can blend it hot.
Season to taste
Upon serving swirl in some cream and garnish with a sprinkle of chives. You can serve it to a courageous pair, or as little amuse bouches for up to 6 people. DELISH!