Friday, June 24, 2011

Czech-ish Garlic Soup

There's a local Eastern European restaurant that makes garlic soup with a heaping helping of cheese. So I started with this, cranked up the garlic, added some caramelized onions for delight, and substituted masoor dal for potatoes (primarily because I had no potatoes), added ham, and :s/parsley/cilantro. The result? A whole, whole, whole lot of heaven. Here's what I did...

  • ~15 cloves garlic
  • 8-10 cups vegetable broth (or chicken, or probably beef or shrimp, but for goodness sake, please MAKE YOUR OWN!)
  • 1/2c caramelized onions (way beyond translucent, they must be dark and sweet)
  • Secret magic leftover roasted turkey drippings mixture awesome (same story for the ham -- I had some leftovers that I wanted to get rid of, and these turkey drippings were *good*) -- use some kind of demi-glace instead if you wish
  • 1/2c diced ham (hey, I had it sitting in the fridge and needed to get rid of it)
  • 1/2 masoor dal, rinsed (the really small, really thin, light pink ones)
  • ~1 tsp caraway seeds
  • ~1 tsp dried marjoram leaves
  • 2 strips o' bacon
  • Bread (Really, it should be homemade. It's bread. It's not that hard.)
  • Shredded cheese (uh, like, 1/8 cup per bowl? The restaurant that makes this soup uses just too much...keep it light)
For to do:
  1. Mash up garlic in mortar and pestle (or garlic press if you must), add 1-1.5Tbsp salt, and mix -- it will become a nice slush of garlic goodness
  2. Dump the garlic mixture and masoor dal in a pot with all of the broth, bring to boil
  3. Reduce heat so it simmers, add caraway, marjoram, ham, onions, and secret turkey drippings
  4. Let simmer, uncovered, for ~15 mins, or until dal is soft. Add black pepper to taste
  5. In another pan, cook up the bacon until crispy, leaving fat in pan. Add bread (either whole slices or in chunks; I did chunks but next time I'm definitely doing whole slices because it's easier) and saute until golden brown
  6. Put a piece of saute-d bread in a bowl, ladle soup on top, then grate some (not too much!) cheese (I used provolone and it was delightful, but I'm sure just about anything would work. Next time: fontina!)
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
  8. Garnish with green herb of choice
Pictures coming later, but this was so effing good I needed to make sure I wrote it down before I forgot. Really. It's awesome. Please. Believe me.