young love … how sweet it is

by hungryrabbit on June 2, 2010

Spring Garlic Soup

Spring produce at the Farmer’s Market is seductive. It delivers flavors with delicate textures, subtle sweetness, and a tease of promises for the rest of the season. It awakens your palette and overtakes all of your senses. Still, it retains shyness–like a child who sings with a big adult voice but remains a youngster.

Young garlic (Alium Sativum) bulbs have appeared all over the market. They don’t have papery skin or developed individual bulbs. These single bulbs are tender, meaty and can be eaten in their entirety. The flavor is sweeter and more subtle than its sharper older sibling.

Spring Garlic Soup is a great way to fully enjoy the fresh delicate essence of young garlic. The recipe uses a combination of preparations to maximize the garlic’s full potential. The leek adds earthiness, while the pasta lends a silky texture (This is a great way to add creaminess without fat). Try it with a crispy garnish of garlic chips, bacon bits, fried leeks, or garlic croutons.

Spring Garlic Soup

recipe by hungryrabbitnyc, 2010
make 2 quarts

2 small leeks, rinsed, cut in half lenghwise and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 spring garlic bulbs, trim root end and green tops, leave about a 1 inch neck (see photo in soup pot)
8 cups water (you can use vegetable stock, but I like the purity of flavor from water)
1/4 cups pasta (I use broken up spaghetti but any kind will do)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons half n half/heavy cream (optional)
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
Extra-Virgin Olive oil for garnish (optional)


1. Heat dutch oven with olive oil and butter on medium heat. Sauté leeks until soften, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds.

2. Add water, garlic bulbs, pasta, salt, white pepper and sugar. Bring to a boil and turn heat to low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes until garlic bulbs are soft. It will take on a translucent texture. (If you can pierce the bulb easily with a knife, it’s done)

3.  Let the soup cool slightly. Puree in blender until smooth. Return to dutch oven and bring it to a simmer.

4. If soup is too think, thin it with a bit of water. Adjust seasoning as needed. Stir in heavy cream (if use).

5. Laddle soup into bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with chives. Serve immediately.

NOTE: If you are making soup ahead of time or want to freeze it. Prepare soup to Step 3. Proceed with Step 4 and 5 when you are ready to serve. You can also make this with regular garlic bulbs. Substitute young garlic bulbs with 2 small head of garlic. Cut top off as you would in roasting garlic. Squeeze soften garlic from papery skin, after it’s cooked, back into the soup and continue with Step 3.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Saltyseattle June 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Beautiful execution of one of my favorite seasonal alliums. I’m loving te idea of soup, especially since it hasn’t quite felt like spring here yet. Lovely photos too. June 3, 2010 at 8:48 am

I’ve been looking for a great garlic soup recipe since I discovered it on my first trip to Austria. Can’t wait to try this one.

bunkycooks June 4, 2010 at 8:08 am

I have not seen whole garlic bulbs here, but will have to make a special effort to try to find them. This looks delicious!

TasteStopping June 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I wonder, if I’d pulled some of my garlic from the garden earlier, whether I would have had the spring garlic bulbs you describe. With the combination of leeks, garlic, spring garlic and chives, I imagine this soup has layer after layer of flavor. Very enticing! Thanks for sharing.


KENNECTED June 10, 2010 at 8:08 am

Never knew there was a thing such as “young garlic”.

The soup looks delicious.

The pictures are again amazing.

Robert July 23, 2010 at 6:47 pm

According to the House Rabbit Society, you should not feed garlic to pet rabbits, as it is bad for their digestive system.

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