There’s a lot of people out there with colds/flu right now. Not here — we’re sitting pretty ’cause we each had a couple of bowls of garlic soup, made hearty and tasty with a nice big smoked ham hock simmered in homemade chicken stock.
Oh yeah, and garlic — 4 immune-boosting heads of it.
Homegrown or farmer’s market garlic really shines in this soup. I used 2 heads of Tibetan (the giant cloves) and 2 heads of Spanish Roja — the deep purple skin covers juicy, sweet and spicy cloves that bear little resemblance to the garlic at the grocery store. That said, the soup is cooked long enough for any garlic to mellow dramatically as it softens, leaving a simple, yet deeply flavoured soup that nourishes with each spoonful.
I’ve taken to adding a dried mushroom to my bouquet garnii…it started with this umami post, and stuck. Although optional, it’s another way to build flavour, so if you’ve got one or two lying around, throw them in.
Slow Cooker Garlic Soup with Ham
Yield: 6 large bowls
|Garlic, cloves separated & peeled||4 heads|
|Celery, finely chopped||3 stalks|
|Lemon, halved||1 whole|
|Smoked Ham Hock||1 kg (approx)|
|Chicken or Vegetable Stock||2 L|
|Dried Morel, Porcini or Shiitake||1 (optional)|
|Salt + Pepper||TT|
kg= kilograms L=litre TT=to taste
Arrange the garlic, celery, lemon halves and ham hock into the slow cooker. Slowly pour the stock over. Enclose the remaining ingredients in a teaball or square of cheesecloth to make the bouquet garnii, and immerse in the liquid. Cook on low for about 6 hours, occasionally turning the ham hock over.
Remove the ham hock and set aside. Discard the lemon halves and bouquet garnii.
Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup until smooth. Season to taste with s+p. Remove the skin and fat from the ham hock, then shred the meat with two forks, and divide among the serving bowls. Ladle the soup over the pork and serve with a thick piece of crusty bread slathered in butter.
That’s healing food.