When chef Christina Lecki took over the kitchen at Reynard in Brooklyn's Wythe Hotel, we took note. Her new menu reflects an approach that puts the heart in hearth, as the 24-hour heat source is truly the center. Not only that, but she's using it to drive the kitchen into a low-waste mind-set. The bone broth is made from the animals served at the restaurant, the whey comes from house-made yogurt and leftover bread scraps turn into the crouton garnish.
If you have those homemade staples as well, go for it—we highly suggest a homemade bone broth—but a high-quality store-bought broth works in a time crunch. The fact that this soup calls for more than a full head of garlic means you'll be laughing in the face of a winter cold. You can recreate the soup at home, but to try her fantastic bread, you'll have to go in person: And trust us, it's worth it.
Roast Garlic Soup with Bone Broth
Recipe adapted from Christina Lecki, Reynard, Brooklyn, NY
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes for the soup, plus 6 hours optional for the bone broth
Total Time: 2 hours, plus 6 hours optional for the bone broth
For the Bone Broth:
5 to 8 pounds beef bones
1 onion, cut into quarters
10 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
3 thyme sprigs
2 celery stalks
1 carrot, whole
5 bay leaves
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
For the Soup:
1 head garlic, cut in half
1 cup olive oil
3 onions, peeled and sliced thin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 quarts stock
1 piece star anise
2 bay leaves
1¼ cups kefir or yogurt
2 cups stale bread, cut into small-to-medium chunks (a crusty sourdough is a great choice, but any leftover bread will do)
1 cup Parmesan, grated
Black pepper, to taste
Olive oil, to taste
Fresh herbs, like parsley, marjoram and thyme
1. Make the bone broth: On a sheet pan, gently roast the bones in a 500° oven until brown. Fill a medium-size stockpot with cold water about 2 inches above the bones. Bring to a boil and skim any foam that comes to the surface. Lower to a simmer on a very low setting so that the liquid is barely bubbling.
2. After 3 hours, add the onion, garlic, thyme, celery, carrot, bay leaves and black peppercorns. Cook for another 3 hours.
3. Make the soup: Lower the oven to 350°, place the head of garlic in a small saucepan and cover the garlic with the olive oil. Roast the garlic in oil for roughly 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the garlic from the oil and reserve both.
4. In a heavy-bottom large saucepan over medium heat, add the sliced onions, oil used from the roast garlic, kosher salt and cook until caramelized and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Once the onions are caramelized, pour 8 cups of the stock over the onions with the star anise and bay leaves. Squeeze the garlic out of the roast head and add to the saucepan as well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes on low.
6. Remove the bay leaves and star anise. Add the kefir or yogurt and allow it to boil again for just a few minutes, then purée until very smooth.
7. While the soup is still hot, add the bread and stir to incorporate. Finish with grated Parmesan, fresh herbs and spicy greens; a generous drizzle of olive oil; and black pepper, to taste. If you're not going to eat the soup immediately, cool it down, then add the bread and garnishes when you are ready to serve.