Roasting smoked garlic adds a refined depth to this elegant soup.
- 1-2 bulbs of smoked garlic, depending on preferred strength
- 1 shallot
- 2tbsp smoked garlic oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 200g (7oz) flaked almonds
- 50g (9oz) bloomer loaf, cut into 2.5cm (1in) chunks
- 200ml (7fl oz.) whole milk
- 1 litre (1¾ pint) vegetable stock
- Pinch of sugar, optional
- 1tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
- Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan) mark 7. Roughly break up garlic bulbs (do not peel). Peel and halve the shallot. Wrap the garlic cloves, shallot halves, 1tbsp of the oil and some seasoning in a double layer of foil and cook in oven for 20min. Open parcel and cook for a further 15-20min until the garlic and shallots are tender and lightly golden.
- Meanwhile, scatter almonds on a baking tray and add to the oven. Cook for a few min until lightly golden. Tip into a bowl and set aside. Next scatter 150g (5oz) of the bread chunks on the baking tray and toss through remaining oil and some seasoning. Cook in the oven for 8-10min until golden; set aside.
- Reserve a handful of the toasted almonds for the garnish, then put the rest in a large pan with the milk, stock and remaining uncooked bread chunks. Add the cooked shallot, then squeeze in softened garlic from inside each clove and discard the skins (snip off the root with scissors and squeeze out paste). Heat gently until bread has dissolved, then blend until smooth (do this in batches if necessary).
- Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently. Season to taste with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sugar, if needed. Ladle into shallow bowls, drizzle over a little oil and sprinkle with chives and the reserved flaked almonds. Serve with the croutons.
Per serving: Calories: 371 Total fat: 25g Saturated fat 3g Total carbs: 25g Sugars 4g