Garlic Soup with Poached Eggs and Croutons

I’ve been channeling my inner Julia again.  Mastering the Art of French Cooking is out and about and getting progressively more dog-eared on my counter.  When flipping through looking for some sauce or something, I stumbled across a recipe for Aigo Bouido Soupe a l’Oeuf, Provencale, or garlic soup with poached eggs.  We just received a big batch of fresh garlic in the box, only this was not the dried and cured garlic you’re used to seeing in the grocery.  This was a big bunch of young, green garlic with the greens still attached.  I figured why not feature it in a a special soup all to itself?  This seemed perfect, so I decided to give it a shot.

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And you know what?  It was perfect.  It was incredibly delicious.  Not the least bit garlicy, like you’d think a garlic soup would be.  It was flavorful and complex and the perfect light dinner on a Sunday evening.  My husband, who is usually anti-broth soups went back for seconds and thirds until the pot was empty.  In reality, with the eggs and the croutons, it wasn’t very soupy at all.  The croutons sopped up all the broth, making them into this delicious porridge consistency.

After the husband ate his final helping, I asked “so what did you think?”  “It’s very…very French.”  I giggled.  “I feel like it should have been at the beginning of a 7 course dinner on Downton Abbey.  I was seriously under-dressed to eat this.  And I need a staff of footmen.”  It’s a easy dish that feels very fancy for some reason.  If you love garlic, and who doesn’t (vampires?), this is an amazing dish.

Garlic Soup with Poached EggsFrom the 2010 edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Says it serves 6-8, as a main course, I would say half that many

1 head separated, or 16 cloves whole garlic

2 quarts water

2 t salt

pinch pepper

2 cloves

1/4 t sage

1/4 t thyme

1/2 bay leaf

4 sprigs parsley plus more for garnish

3 T olive oil plus more for brushing

6 very fresh eggs

1 fresh baguette

Bring a small pot of water to boil.  Drop the garlic cloves in the water and boil for 30 seconds.  Drain, shock in cold water, and peel.

Place the peeled garlic, 2 qt water, salt, pepper, spices, and olive oil in a wide saucepan.  Boil slowly for 30 minutes.  Adjust salt and pepper as needed after cooking.

While the soup is cooking, preheat the oven to 325.  Slice the baguette into 3/4 to 1″ slices.  Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Brush both sides of the bread with a good olive oil.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until crispy but not browned.

After the soup has simmered for 1/2 an hour, strain it through a sieve into a bowl.  Press the garlic cloves to get all the extra juice out.  Return to the saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Carefully ease the eggs, one at a time, into the simmering soup to poach.  Depending on the size of your pan, you may poach 2 or 3 at a time.  Poach the eggs for about 4 minutes, then using a slotted spoon, remove them to a waiting plate.

Arrange 2-3 croutons in the bottom of a soup bowl.  Carefully put 1 or 2 poached eggs on top of the croutons.  Spoon about a cup of the soup over the eggs.  Garnish with additional parsley.  A sprinkle of parmesan would probably be a delicious addition.

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5 thoughts on “Garlic Soup with Poached Eggs and Croutons

  1. That looks amazing! I have to admit, I was skeptical of a garlic soup, but your description of it sounds awesome. You are almost single-handedly creating my menu for this week. 😉

  2. Oh I am pretty damned excited about you posting this. I had it once in Andalucia and have never been able to forget it. I’ve tried a few times but haven’t hit the right combination. Favoriting this for when garlic comes in. Thank you!

  3. this does sound delicious! I have enjoyed other soups with croutons and I love garlic so if I get another round of garlic I may try this. I’ve noticed that the fresh garlic is awkward to clean/peel/prep but have not tried (fresh or dried) dropping in boiling water first. did you use any/much of the greens?

    • I didn’t use the greens for this recipe, though they’d probably be really good minced and sprinkled on top instead of the parsley. Fresh garlic is really awkward to work with. Almost slimy and difficult to separate from the skins. Having worked with it fresh and blanched, I can’t say the blanching helped matters. But because the garlic is ultimately strained out, it’s not too much of a concern in this recipe. You know you won’t end up with a rogue garlic skin in your mouth mid meal!

      • thanks! and thanks for the inspiration. I finally got around to making this, although not with my CSA garlic, unfortunately. I did compare and adapt somewhat based on another garlic soup recipe I had, and that recipe used chicken broth instead of water. perhaps the garlic flavor is hidden a bit by the other rich flavors, but I love anything with homemade chicken stock and we really enjoyed it.

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