Garlic broth is like made for the cold winter days: it’s hearty, warming and comforting, and keeps the bugs away (and with bugs, I mean vampires). This broth is packed with flavor, but can be made relatively simply with just garlic and some seasonings. I love to boost up the umami content however with dried shiitake mushrooms, kombu and a some parmesan rinds!
The end result is an intense and rich broth, that’s a perfect base for all kinds of soups and stews. I use garlic broth mainly in noodle soups, seasoning it with for example some soy sauce, ginger and miso paste. However, garlic broth also works wonderfully in lentil and bean soups and stews as well as risottos, when you season it with herbs like rosemary or thyme. And hey, it’s also delicious sipped as is!
Garlic broth fusion style: kombu, shiitake, parmesan rind, garlic! Sometimes I throw in other cheese rinds too, pictured here the rind of pecorino romano too.
The recipe of garlic broth first popped in my feed from the websites of Epicurious and NYT Cooking a few years ago, and I’ve been making it on/off ever since. You can keep it super simple by using mainly garlic with a few spices, but I’ve developed a kind of fusion between garlic broth, italian parmesan broth and japanese dashi.
I use dashi A LOT and always have ingredients for it around. I find it a super versatile base for any kind of cooking, not just japanese dishes! I always save my Parmesan rinds, sealing them in vacuum and freezing them until there’s enough for a stock. Combining these two flavorful broths with garlic broth seemed quite natural! They are all delicious on their own, so why not trying to marry them together? The resulting mega broth was totally worth the risk, and I’ve been making it ever since.
Garlic is as garlic does
Since garlic broth’s main ingredient is garlic, I highly recommend choosing the best and freshest garlic to this broth. I wouldn’t personally use the plump and juicy fresh seasonal Finnish garlic to this recipe however… It’s super expensive and only available for a short period of time up here in the North. 🙂 So what I mean with “best and freshest” is that the garlic hasn’t sprouted and is preferably the organic kind.
I’m pretty sure most people know how to choose garlic. in case you’ve never thought about it: pick a garlic that feels heavy to it’s size, has no weird spots and isn’t caving in when you touch it. And obviously, pick one that hasn’t sprouted! That being said, sometimes garlic starts to sprout on my kitchen counter and I still use it as long as the sprout is very small. I just pick out the bitter sprout and use the garlic in recipes where it’s not the main ingredient. So definitely not in this broth or in aioli for instance.
Cut it, chop it, bruise it, grate it, slice it, dice it…
You can add the garlic to the broth in lots of different ways: sliced, bruised, grated, whole, peeled, unpeeled… roasted, sauteed and/or raw! Raw garlic obviously gives a different flavor than cooked, as does garlic that’s been grated, or simply plopped in whole. The more you bruise and chop the garlic, the stronger the aroma is as the allicin of the garlic is released. I personally enjoy adding part of the garlic raw, part of it sauteed golden. I usually add one halved head, peels and all, another in slices or roughly chopped. The nutty sweet softness of garlic that has been fried lightly golden is wonderful in the stock!
I sometimes throw in a piece of carrot, leek or celery too, as well as different onions, herbs, spices and seasonings. The more you add makes the broth less versatile though, so I aim to keep the seasonings to a minimum when making the broth. I’ll finish seasoning it once I know what I’ll be using the broth for!
- A large stock pot
- 2-3 whole heads of garlic (depending on the size and your preference)
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil (neutral tasting )
- 10 grams kombu seaweed (approximately)
- 6-8 dried shiitake mushrooms (depending on size)
- 1 large shallot
- 1-2 spring onions
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 1-2 pieces of parmesan rind
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley, coriander...)
- soy sauce / salt / miso paste / fish sauce (to taste)
After sieving the broth, you can puree some of the garlic with the broth! Sometimes I also add a few cloves of freshly grated garlic in the end to add one more final garlicky boost to my broth.
Garlic broth is at its best on the day it's made, but you can store it in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze it.
- Soak your kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms in a liter of cold water for a few hours at room temperature up to overnight in the fridge.
- Cut one of the garlic heads in half and sear the surfaces until golden on a medium hot pan in a few teaspoons of oil. Peel and roughly chop the rest of the garlic, and sautee it in a few teaspoons of oil on a medium hot pan, to your desired level of toasty. Be careful not to burn the garlic!
- Peel the shallot. Cut the shallot in half, roughly chop the carrot and celery (if you use them). I usually just tie the spring onion to a know, but you can also roughly chop the spring onion.
Making the garlic broth
- Add the kombu and the shiitake along with their soaking liquid to a large pot. Add a liter of fresh water, all the garlic, the shallot, spring onions, bay leaves and parmesan rinds, as well as carrot and or celery if you use them. Add herbs such as thyme, rosemary, parsley or cilantro to taste, depending on what you are planning on using the broth for.
- Bring the garlic broth to a simmer. Remove and discard the kombu as the broth comes to a boil. Check the level of the liquid and let the broth simmer on low heat uncovered for 1-1,5 hours or until the broth has reduced by half. Stir the pot a few times to prevent the parmesan rind from sticking to the bottom.
- Pour the garlic broth through a sieve to fish out the solids.
- Finish by seasoning your garlic broth to taste with salt, miso paste, soy sauce and or fish sauce depending on what you are planning to use it in.