For those who occasionally make cheese (ricotta, paneer) etc. and wonder what to do with the whey/buttermilk, please do not throw this amazing liquid away. I don’t know what the exact term for this stuff is, but I am talking about the greenish milky liquid that remains when you strain out your cheese Indians sometimes use it in curries ( in hindi it is called chhach or chhas). This stuff has potential. I used it in saag paneer the other day and it was better than adding yoghurt and way better than adding cream.
I had come across a 40 garlic soup recipes here and there and it immediately seemed like a marvelous idea. When I made ricotta last week, a simplified version of this soup seemed like it would really take to using up the whey/buttermilk and boy did it! Instead of roasting garlic in the oven for 40 min on a weeknight, I went with slow cooking for about 10 min on the stove. Perhaps the roasted version is superior, but this was a great great soup and so easy. If you dont have whey/buttermilk, using chicken (vegetable) stock with a bit of cream will do the trick. The cultured store bought stuff is not a substitute. I ate this soup with Chinese chili oil, because that’s how I roll. But my guys ate it with a basmati-wild rice combo (the kind Costco sells). It would also be great with garlicky croutons and a dash of parmesan.
40 cloves garlic (peeled; I bought mine peeled)
1 large onion – 2 cups diced
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 cups whey/buttermilk (Substitute 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and 1/2 cup half and half if you don’t have this stuff)
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (1 used 2 cup water and 1heaping tbs+1tsp of Better than bouillon)
2 tbs. butter
2 tsp dried thyme.
1. Heat butter, add cumin seeds and allow the seeds to sputter and release their aroma.
2. Add garlic and cook garlic on low until garlic browns nicely (about 7-10 min). You don’t want your garlic to burn.
3. Now add onions, sauté about 10 min, till the onion softens.
4. Add thyme and sauté for a min or so, till you smell its aroma.
5. Add the whey and chicken stock/water+ bouillon and simmer for 25 min till the onions and garlic are completely soft.
6. Blend using an immersion blender. This step seems to make the soup more airy, like a colloid and gives soups a better texture than the food processor. I have no idea how a blender compares, I don’t have mine out on a counter and never get around to using it.
7. Serve with a garnish of Chinese chili oil. For a heartier meal, serve with a basmati-wild rice mix or with garlicky croutons.