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.
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
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.