This garlic soup recipe is from Susana Trilling, who owns the Seasons of My Heart Cooking School in Oaxaca, Mexico. It uses an herb called hoja santa that has a large, fragrant leaf. Look for it in Latin markets but if unavailable, watercress is the best substitute. Serve this soup with a dark beer like Negra Modelo and cornbread. Read Dave DeWitt’s entire spicy spring soup article here.
- 2 heads garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large hoja santa leaf, cut into strips or 1 bunch chopped fresh watercress
- 6 cups Vibrant Vegetable Stock (see recipe here) or substitute your favorite stock
- 2 de árbol chiles, left whole, or substitute 2 large piquíns or santaka chiles
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 bunch celery leaves, coarsely chopped
- 20 toasted bread cubes or croutons
- 20 cubes Oaxaqueño or other melting cheese such as queso blanco or Monterey Jack
- Garnish: grated Parmesan cheese
- Sauté the garlic in the olive oil in a soup pot until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the hoja santa or watercress and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Add the stock, chile (if using), salt, pepper, and bay leaves and simmer for a half an hour. Remove the bay leaves and chile. Add the celery leaves just before serving.
- Place 5 cubes of bread and five of cheese in 4 individual soup bowls and ladle in the soup. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.