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Garlic Soup: A Soup For All Seasons
(but especially winter)
    Makes 4 servings
6 cups water
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3 to 6 large garlic cloves (to taste), minced or pressed, plus 1 garlic clove, cut in half
1-1/2 to
teaspoons salt (to taste)
1 bay leaf
1/4 to
teaspoon dried thyme, or a few sprigs of fresh, OR 2 or 3 fresh sage leaves
4 thick slices country style bread or French bread
2 large eggs, beaten
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2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)
  freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 to 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyère cheese

1. Bring the water to a boil in a 3- or 4-quart saucepan or soup pot. Add the minced or pressed garlic, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, bay leaf, and thyme or sage. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Taste: Does it taste good? Is there enough salt? Garlic?

2. Toast the bread. As soon as it’s done, rub both sides with the cut clove of garlic and set aside.

3. Beat together the eggs and optional olive oil. Spoon a ladleful of the hot soup into the eggs and stir together. Then turn off the heat under the soup, and stir in the egg mixture. The eggs should cloud the soup but they shouldn't scramble if the soup isn't boiling. Stir in the pepper and parsley.

4. Place a garlic crouton in each bowl. Ladle in the soup, sprinkle Parmesan or Gruyère over the top, and serve.


Garlic Soup with Broccoli, Peas, Green Beans or Sugar Snap Peas: Add 1/2 pound broccoli florets, green beans or sugar snap peas, or 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas, to the soup at the end of Step 1. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Meanwhile make the croutons. Proceed with Step 3.

Garlic Soup with Potatoes: Add 1/2 pound waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, fingerlings or white creamers, scrubbed and sliced about 1/4 inch thick, to the soup at the beginning of Step 1. By the end of the 15 minutes they should be tender. If they are not, continue to simmer until they are tender and proceed with the recipe.

Garlic Soup with Pasta: Add soup pasta such as small shells or elbow macaroni, or large pasta such as fussili to the soup at the end of Step 1. Cook the pasta al dente, then check again for salt, and proceed with the recipe.

Note: you can add green vegetables with the potato or pasta version. Add them at the end of Step 1 as directed.

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