Our family was so healthy this winter, I just praise God for all the sicknesses we missed out on as friends and family around us were struck with this bug or that one. The first time I even felt a tickle in my throat was in March, and I had been talking with a friend about the health benefits of garlic, so I knew just what to do. Time for garlic soup to the rescue!
Garlic has awesome antibiotic and antiviral properties, and chicken broth also builds immunity, so I made a garlic soup to drive away the tickle. A soup with SIXTEEN cloves of garlic in it…and it worked! I can’t say I got enough sleep (I never do), and while there’s no way to prove that this garlic soup healed my almost-cold, it certainly felt like a tonic. I ate the soup three days in a row and fought the tickle the whole time, until it just disappeared.
Extra Garlic (Real Food Confessions)
I haven’t always been so garlic savvy though.
In college I spent a summer flipping through Quick Cooking magazines and trying new recipes. (Yes, I worked too, full time, but I still had more time on my hands than 18 credits and running a Youth Ministry program.) I had a kitchen at my disposal and a yen to learn to cook.
One recipe I chose was some sort of pork dish. Understand that I’d never cooked with pork, and still rarely do on account of it being one of my hubby’s “X” items. I’d also never cooked with garlic, but the recipe called for a few cloves of chopped garlic. I don’t remember how many, but it was more than one (see below).
I invited some friends over for dinner and set about preparing to cook a grandiose meal for them. I shopped for the pork, the garlic, the applesauce, and whatever else was in the meal. I bought a few bulbs of garlic and went on home.
As I was trying to make garlic into “chopped” garlic, I ran into my first problem. There were all those little papery skin thingys all over my cutting board! I thought, as if there was someone in charge of garlic, this recipe, and the culinary world: “They can’t possibly expect me to pick out every one of these skins? The garlic is just full of them! How am I supposed to chop this thing up into tiny pieces?”
Have you figured out my first issue yet?
I didn’t know the difference between a “bulb” and a “clove” of garlic. Recipes really should explain these things for us first-timers.
I pushed through the inconvenience of the papery skins, almost certainly including some of them in my dish…with the applesauce, and the pork. After that disaster, I decided that ONE clove should be enough and let the rest of the garlic sit taunting me on the counter. One clove meaning the majority of one head of garlic, mind you.
Fruit and meat…and garlic.
My friends were so kind! They actually ate the meal, and I wish I could tell you the details of how I discovered the difference between a head or bulb of garlic and a clove, but I can’t remember. I try to block out most traumatic incidents in my life, really.
The Smell of Garlic
Now, I love the smell of garlic. Then? Not so much. The nail in garlic’s coffin for a number of years in my kitchen, was the garlic smell on my hands. Garlic and I had gotten pretty intimate on that cutting board, and I was smelling it, tasting it, and sleeping with it for at least three days afterward! I even tried washing my hands in yellow mustard after reading that it would help reduce the scent, but to no avail. I didn’t buy fresh garlic for years after that experience!
Now I’ve figured out the beauty, aroma and health benefits of garlic and use it almost daily. Either I’ve gotten used to the scent on my fingers or it doesn’t stick with me as badly as when I was dissecting the thing for 15 minutes. I sure am grateful that I gave garlic another chance (and that my friends didn’t disown me for feeding them garlicky applesauce)!
Ways to Get Garlic in Your System & Fight Germs
- Eat it
- Rub it on your feet/put crushed garlic in your socks
- Pour garlic-infused olive oil into your ear
- Rub mixture onto chest
- Can you inhale garlic essential oil? I wonder…
- Here’s a great post on Using Garlic Medicinally (history of garlic, how to use it, what diseases it tackles – a super comprehensive post!)
- Saute onions, celery and garlic (if fresh) in butter until soft.
- Add chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil and skim. (I might add carrots here too, especially if I don’t have squash on hand.)
- Simmer the soup, covered, until the potatoes are soft.
- Add the squash (if you have it) and seasonings and simmer uncovered 10 minutes or until squash is tender.
- Now comes the fun part – puree soup with a hand held blender. You can always add water if it is too thick. If you don’t have a blender stick, you can use a regular blender, or a food processor, or just eat it chunky!
- Add creme fraiche (or sour cream) and seasonings to your liking!
Optional: Roast Garlic. Put a bulb (or two) of garlic on a cookie sheet in an oven or toaster oven at 300-350 for 15-20 minutes until cloves are slightly opened and soft. You can scoop the garlic right out with a fork.
This makes an entirely different soup than fresh (unroasted) garlic (I’ve tried it both ways).
Because this garlic soup is blended, it goes down so easy and makes a great “first course” soup for a fancy meal, soup for baby (as long as they’ve been introduced to all the parts), or side dish with a main meat dish. I’ve served it as a side dish soup with pan-fried fish, homemade rolls and a crudite platter, and as a pairing with a chicken Caesar salad (dressing recipe here). I think it’s a great summer soup, too, next to grilled meat and veggies, especially when garlic is in season. (See more ideas for including broth in your summer fare here.)
It’s super budget-friendly! I estimate it costs $2.00 tops for the whole pot. Making your own chicken stock helps this number stay low-low-low! It makes enough to feed four adults well plus leftovers for at least another meal.
If you enjoyed this recipe, find more here:
- Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- Potato Salad with the Kids
- Homemade Refried Beans
- The Best Scrambled Eggs Ever
- Happy Uses for Tomatoes
- Crockpot Tuscan Beef Stew
- Turkey Pot Pie (or How to Use up Leftovers)