In defence of summer soup (that isn’t gazpacho)

Barbecued wings, cool tomato salads, coleslaw, ice creams, juicy slices of watermelon; these are summertime foods, right? What would you say if I told you this recipe for Garlic & Lemongrass Broth was too? You’d probably say “Yeah, well, you live in London. What do you even know about summer anyhow.” I mean, you’re not all wrong but goodness, I hadn’t realised how judgy you were!

This is one of those broths that can be made once, then happily sit in a tupperware in your fridge, to be used in a variety of ways throughout a busy (or not so busy) week. It’s your one-stop-broth-shop. Just what we need for summertime cooking. Additional bonus: you’ll be making and extra portion of garlic oil in this recipe as well! Oh the possibilities…

Last night I used this broth as a base to make two hungry girls a quick chicken noodle soup, blanching a few thinly-peeled veggies right in the broth. Earlier in the week I added a ladle of the broth plus a bit of the garlic oil (*swoon*) to a throw-it-all-in stir fry for flavour. Fancy having an impromptu Saturday night dinner party? Style up the basics by serving guests this broth in little tea cups as a starter, alongside a few interesting garnishes. Then, brush whatever you’re throwing on the grill with the garlic oil and break out the ice cream for dessert. It can really be just that simple.

With just a few simple ingredients and a fabulous excuse to to zone out and stir a pot for a little while, it’s amazing how plentiful and resourceful your results can be.

The whole thing can be put together in under an hour, most of which require active daydreaming rather than chopping and frying and whatnot. So, I invite you to step away from the to-do list, take a deep breath of garlic-scented air, and enjoy taking your time to make this zingy light and versatile broth.


Garlic & Lemongrass Broth + Garlic Oil

serves 8

2L or 9ish cups chicken or vegetable stock (unsalted shop bought is fine, homemade is always preferable when available)

1 head garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

120ml 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 stalks lemongrass, sliced in half

sea salt to taste

fresh mint leaves, chiffonaded for garnish

coriander, roughly chopped for garnish

Possible additions:

shredded chicken breasts or thighs

diced extra firm tofu

thinly sliced beef

a few handfuls of baby spinach

soba noodles

frozen peas

long strips of peeled carrots

washed and picked bean sprouts

In a small saucepan over a low heat, add your olive oil followed by the peeled and chopped head of garlic. Slowly, whilst stirring frequently, gently cook your garlic for around 15-20 minutes until softened but NOT browned. After your garlic has softened completely, remove from heat and pour through a mesh sieve into a small bowl. Reserve the garlic oil (which will smell amazing!) for later, both to finish your soup and for other cooking adventures.

Return your softened garlic to a large pot and add in chicken stock and lemongrass. Half covered with a lid over a high heat, bring your broth to the boil before reducing to medium-low to simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove lemongrass stalks and season with sea salt to taste. If using, add in whatever protein of choice you are using and return to a low heat for 5-10 minutes in order to heat through.

Consider popping a few bowls filled with garnishes of herbs and leaves (much like you’d have when eating pho) directly on the table for guests to use themselves. Ladle the broth into individual sized bowls, drizzle with a small amount of garlic oil over the top, scatter a few sliced mint leaves or roughly torn coriander leaves and serve.

About The Author


Eat. Drink. Wander. Think. Write.

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