Garlic lovers only! Fifty whole cloves – half roasted until deeply caramelized, half left sharply raw before pressure-cooking – make this soup very powerful.
Because this recipe is made with hardy produce that stays available through the cold season, it is an excellent candidate to accompany your winter grilled cheese sandwiches after your freezer supply of Roasted Tomato Soup runs out. Instant Pot makes it easy to pressure-cook garlic, onion, herbs, broth, and soaked dry white beans into a creamy, fiery, satisfying soup.
What kind of biochemistry is behind garlic’s warming, fiery qualities? Garlic is rich in sulfurous compounds that are believed to have evolved in the plant as a defense mechanism against pests. Alliinase is an enzyme that is released when tissue damage occurs (think chewing or chopping) that converts alliin (an odorless, inert storage compound) into allicin: a pungent, volatile, reactive compound that interacts with the same receptors that chili peppers trigger, leading to similar thermosensation of heat.
While bugs are repelled by this chemical warfare, humans can credit allicin and its metabolites as a hormetic mechanism powering garlic’s role as a plant medicine. Garlic upregulates synthesis of glutathione (a key molecule in endogenous antioxidant response), increases expression of related detoxifying enzymes like glutathione transferases, and counteracts inflammatory pathways – just to name a few of its complex and compelling properties.
Alliinase is irreversibly inactivated by heat and acid, so to enjoy the effects of allicin, it’s important to chop well before cooking – and it’s recommended to let the minced garlic rest on your cutting board for 10 minutes to give the enzyme time to work. If you don’t feel like mincing with a chef’s knife, a mini food processor can make fast work of the job. Then after pressure-cooking the soup, an immersion blender is the easiest way to finish to a creamy puree.
Garlic and Organosulfur Compounds via Linus Pauling Institute
The Pungency of Garlic: Activation of TRPA1 and TRPV1 in Response to Allicin
The Influence of Heating on the Anticancer Properties of Garlic
I garnished these bowls with shaved Parmesan cheese and a handful of crispy baked kale chips… and feeling cheeky enough not to stop at 50 cloves, I minced up a couple more for a batch of garlic bread. Pushing the limits and loving every minute!
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[Instant Pot] 50 Clove Garlic & White Bean Soup
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 25 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled about 75 grams
- 25 medium cloves garlic, peeled about 75 grams
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 8 oz dry white beans soaked overnight
- 1 quart broth vegetable or chicken
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Toss the 25 unpeeled garlic cloves with 2 teaspoons olive oil in a small baking dish, cover and roast for about 30 minutes until soft and golden brown. When the cloves are cool enough to handle, squeeze each one to remove the roasted garlic from its skin.
- While the first half of the garlic cloves roast, mince the other 25 peeled garlic cloves and allow them to sit at least 10 minutes before cooking.
- In a pressure cooker, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter over medium heat (with Instant Pot, choose “Saute” and keep the default heat setting). Add the chopped onion and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes, then stir in the minced raw garlic and roasted garlic cloves. Drain the white beans of their soaking water, and add them to the pot along with the broth, rosemary and salt.
- Cover the pressure cooker with the lid, ensuring that the valve is in sealed position. Cook under high pressure for 20 minutes (with Instant Pot, choose ‘Manual’ mode, and adjust time to 20 minutes).
- When the cooking time is complete, allow the pot to de-pressurize naturally for at least 10 minutes before opening the lid. Puree the soup with an immersion blender until smooth, then check and adjust seasoning if needed.