Garlic Soup with Spinach, Pasta Shells and Chicken

Talk about a soup that will warm you from the inside out on a chilly day.  I’ve never made my own broth before.  This recipe required you to.  I mean, who sells garlic broth?  Right.  So I had no choice but to make my own.  And it was… rewarding!  Thank you New York Times for this recipe.

You’ll need:

2 heads of garlic
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon olive oil
A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf, a couple of sprigs each thyme and parsley, and a fresh sage leaf
Salt to taste
1/2 cup small macaroni shells
6 1/2-inch thick slices country bread, toasted and rubbed with a cut clove of garlic
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
4 egg yolks
1 6-ounce bag baby spinach

Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice and water. Separate the head of garlic into cloves and drop them into the boiling water. Blanch for 30 seconds, then transfer to the ice water. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then drain and remove the skins from the garlic cloves. They’ll be loose and easy to remove. Crush the cloves lightly by leaning on them with the side of a chef’s knife.

Place the garlic cloves in a large saucepan with 2 quarts of water, the olive oil, bouquet garni, and salt to taste, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 1 hour. Strain and return the broth to the saucepan. Taste and adjust salt, and bring back to a simmer.

If you wanted to make your broth ahead of time and make the rest of the soup later, just stop here and pop the broth in the fridge or freezer.

Add the macaroni shells to the broth and simmer until cooked al dente.

Distribute the garlic croutons among soup bowls and top each one with a heaped tablespoon of cheese. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl. Making sure that it is not boiling, whisk in a ladleful of the hot garlic broth.

Add the spinach to the simmering broth and stir for 30 seconds to a minute, until all of the spinach is wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in the tempered egg yolks. Stir for a minute, taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle the soup over the cheese-topped croutons, and serve.

I also tossed in some shredded chicken for a lil more oomph into this delish soup.  I LOVED this soup. LOVED LOVED LOVED.  Make it.  Now!

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