The beginning of May marks the end of the wild garlic season. That’s the time when the plant starts to bloom and lose its distinctive taste. One of the best ways to appreciate the subtle garlic aroma of this wonderful leaf is by cooking an aromatic wild garlic soup.
The process of cooking any creamy herb soup is always the same and very easy. It takes no more than half an hour to have this velvety smooth soup on your dinner table.
Because herbs don’t have a lot of body to them, potatoes provide the substance for this wild garlic soup. It’s best to use starchy potatoes for a soup like this because they will become softer when cooked through which makes them easier to blend. Also, the starch that is released into the broth while simmering will help to thicken the soup slightly more and improve the mouthfeel.
The wild garlic should be added just before blending. It’s a very delicate herb. If you boil it for 20 minutes, it will lose all of its fragrance and eye-catching color.
Once the potatoes are cooked, it’s time to add the wild garlic and cream. Let the soup get up to a boil, season, and then immediately blend it while still hot. The shorter you cook the wild garlic and cream, the more aromatic the soup becomes.
Why I recommend straining this wild garlic soup after blending
I always state that it is optional to strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve after blending. However, for this soup I highly recommend it. Wild garlic can be very fibrous and if you don’t own a professional-grade blender (I don’t), the soup might not be super-smooth after blending. However, if a few plant fibers don’t bother you, you can also leave the soup unstrained.
As always, the seasoning is up to you. I recommend seasoning this soup with raspberry vinegar and salt. If you don’t have raspberry vinegar, you can substitute any other mild vinegar that you like (eg. apple cider vinegar, strawberry vinegar, or rice vinegar). You can be quite generous with the salt if you’re using homemade and unsalted chicken broth. Because of the potatoes, the soup will need a few large pinches at the end to taste well seasoned.
This soup can either be served as a small appetizer for four people or you can eat it as a dinner for two people. I recommend serving it with a slice of toasted bread on the side. If you’re looking for another wild garlic recipe, why not also try my recipe for wild garlic spaetzle next?
Wild Garlic Soup (‘Bärlauchsuppe’)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
- 7 ounces (200 g) starchy potatoes, cut into small cubes, about 1.5 cups
- 5 thyme sprigs
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 3.5 ounces (100 g) wild garlic, leaves and stem
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- raspberry vinegar, to taste
- salt, to taste
- In a pot, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and ginger and sweat for 3-4 minutes or until the onion turns translucent. Add the potatoes, thyme, and chicken or vegetable broth. Bring the broth to a light simmer and simmer the soup, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove the thyme sprigs.
- Add the wild garlic and cream and bring the soup to a light simmer once again. Once the wild garlic has wilted, season the soup to taste with sugar, vinegar, and salt.
- Puree the soup until smooth and optionally pass it through a fine-mesh sieve afterward for a super-smooth and creamy texture. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You can garnish the soup at the table with some fresh cream if desired.
Thank you! We just made this delicious soup, except with ramps (Allium tricoccum), which are native to North America and found in the farmer’s markets this time of year, at least here in Minnesota. They are also popular in the Appalachians. My cousin has been talking about collecting ramps for years so I finally bought some, and the consensus was “What are these called again? They are great!” (And your recipe provided the foundation.)
I wouldn’t be able to recognize these “in the wild”, and I note the warning in this article about their similar to Lily of the Valley. Interestingly, this similarity was the center of an episode in the series “Outlander”, about a nurse how goes back in time to the Scottish highlands, and has to rely on herbs for medicines. https://www.wildedible.com/blog/foraging-ramps
I’m glad you enjoyed the soup, Michael! Yes, in Germany they issue the warning too that wild garlic can be confused with Lily of the Valley. But once you’ve foraged and cooked with ramps or wild garlic it becomes quite easy to distinguish them. I actually don’t have to go and harvest them because my neighbor grows them and they are available for sale at a lot of places here. Overall, it’s a wonderful herb to work with that can be used in so many dishes. Now, the season is already about to end here in Germany. Unfortunately, wild garlic or ramps don’t keep well. The only way to extend their season is by preserving the leaves in oil. But next year I will get the chance again to eat fresh wild garlic. – Tim