Green Garlic Soup

This is a lovely soup for cold nights. If you want to lighten it, use a light vegetable stock. To enrich it, use a dark chicken stock. To take it over the top, add a little cream. You will need a little extra salt to enhance the flavors if you use cream.

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound green garlic (1-2 bunches), trimmed of green and sliced finely (Use leeks to round out volume if you don’t have enough green garlic)
1 large brown onion, sliced finely
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
½ pound potatoes (about 2 medium) such as Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn, quartered and sliced ¼ inch thick
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts stock (chicken or vegetable, homemade or low sodium), or water, or a combination
Cream sherry, up to a ½ cup (optional)
Sherry or white wine vinegar, if needed

METHOD:
In a soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter (or a combination) over medium heat. When hot, add the green garlic and onions and cook until soft and getting a little color. Add the thyme and salt and pepper. Stir in and wait until the aroma comes up.

If using the sherry, add up to a ½ cup (the sherry will provide sweetness and a deeper rich color to the finished soup) and cook to reduce liquid by 80%.

Add the potatoes and sauté to color a little and soften. Add the stock and/or water and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until all the ingredients are soft.

Purée the soup either with an immersion blender or in the blender (CAUTION: If you use the blender, do not fill with hot soup — it will expand and spray all over the place. Only fill half way and cover the top of the blender with a towel and start at a low speed.) Purée until all of the soup is smooth.

Taste soup for balance and add salt and pepper, if needed. Use a dash of white wine or sherry vinegar if you think it could benefit from a dab of sharpness.

Serve hot.

YIELD: 4 servings

Chef Notes:
Sometimes I make this soup without the potatoes and blending, and add ginger, noodles and sautéed shiitake mushrooms for an Asian style soup. Feel free to add carrots, tofu, greens or shredded Napa cabbage, or whatever strikes your fancy.