French cream of garlic soup topped with toasted bread and grated cheese and browned in the oven. Creamy, rich comfort food. Don't be put off by the amount of garlic. It mellows and becomes smooth tasting as it cooks.
- 3⁄4 cup garlic, peeled (3-3 1/2 heads of garlic)
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups water, divided (cold)
- 2 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup onion, thinly sliced
- 1 leek, thinly sliced (white part only)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- white pepper, to taste
- 1 quart chicken broth (4 cups)
- 1 cup half-and-half or 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 6 slices whole wheat bread (French or Italian cut diagonally 1/2-inch thick)
- 1 garlic clove, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1⁄4 cup swiss cheese, grated
- 1 teaspoon chives, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a pot, cover garlic and bay leaves with 2 cups cold water.
- Bring to a boil, then drain.
- Repeat process 3 times.
- In a large dutch oven, over medium heat, fry bacon until crisp.
- Remove bacon from pan and set aside; discard all but 1 tablespoon grease (if there isn't a full tablespoon make up the difference with butter).
- Add the onions and leeks and season with salt and pepper; cook, covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender (10-15 minutes).
- Add garlic, broth, cream, bacon, and thyme to onion/leek mixture and simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes.
- On a baking sheet, bake the bread slices until crisp but not golden (6 minutes).
- Remove bay leaves from soup; discard.
- In a food processor or blender, purée the soup until smooth (working in batches if necessary).
- Pour soup into serving bowls.
- Rub each slice of toast on both sides with the cut sides of a garlic clove.
- Top each bowl with toast and sprinkle with cheese.
- Heat under broiler until golden brown.
- Sprinkle with chives.
- Serve hot.