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Garlic Soup with Thyme Croutons

Preparation time: 15 min, Cooking time: 1 hr 30 min, Cals per serving: 258

ingredients

serves: 4
4 tbsp olive oil
3 large onions, about 700g (1 1/2 lb) total weight, chopped
16 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
150 ml (5 fl oz) white wine or cider
350 g (12 oz), peeled potatoes roughly chopped
1.6 litres (2 3/4 pt) vegetable stock
100 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) whipping cream , plus extra for drizzling

for the thyme croutons

3 - 4 bread slices , cubed
3 - 4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
fresh thyme sprigs

method

1. In a heavy-based pan, heat the olive oil, add the onions and garlic then cover and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 25 minutes, or until translucent and very soft. Keep checking and do not allow to colour. Add the wine and bring to the boil. Bubble until the liquid has reduced by half.

2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan oven/Gas Mark 6. Add the potatoes and stock to the onions and garlic, then bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until reduced slightly. Meanwhile, make the thyme croutons. Mix the bread cubes in a bowl with the oil and thyme, then place in a preheated baking tray and bake for 10 minutes until golden and crisp. Sprinkle with salt and thyme sprigs.

3. When the soup has cooled a little, pour it into a food processor or blender and whiz until smooth. Add the cream, season well and reheat.

4. Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with a little cream, sprinkle the croutons on top and serve.

Freezing: Complete the recipe up to the end of step 3, but do not add the cream and do not reheat. Cool and freeze.

To use: Thaw at cool room temperature overnight. Bring the soup back to the boil, add the cream and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Complete the recipe. Make the thyme croutons fresh.

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