Elizabeth David: French Garlic Soup
Perhaps a recipe for the more adventurous, I first tried Garlic soup in a small restaurant nestled in the back streets of Sarlat in the Dordogne. Many people can be put off trying garlic soup thinking that it will be a pungent or overly strong dish, especially when looking at the amount of garlic used! This couldn’t be further from the truth. The garlic gently flavours the soup in a much more fragrant way than you may at first think. Because you are adding large quantities of garlic at the start of the cooking process some of the strength and heat are cooked out and what you are left with is the warming aromatic flavour.
I found this recipe in an old Elizabeth David cook book which I got on Waterstones. It is a very quick and simple soup to prepare with just a few store cupboard ingredients. This dish is perfect as a starter or as a light lunch on the weekend.
French Garlic Soup.
Serves 2 for a starter or a light lunch
2 Bulbs of Garlic
1 tbsp of Butter
2 Pints of good Vegetable (or Chicken) stock
1 tsp Nutmeg
3 Egg yolks
3 tbsp Olive Oil
stale or crusty Bread
Salt & Pepper to taste
Peal the cloves of garlic, then crush them with the flat side of a knife to bruise the bulbs. This will allow some of the oil to come out as they cook.
Gently melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, being careful not to colour it too much or burn it. At the end you want to be left with a clear white soup. Add the Garlic and coat the cloves in the warm butter. Cook over a low heat till they start to melt a little, this should take 10-15 minutes, again take care not to let them brown too much.
Make up your stock according to the instructions and gradually add it to the pan, keeping the heat low so you don’t colour the liquid. Once you have added all the stock gently bring it back to the boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and pass through a sieve discarding the garlic bulbs.
Slice and toast the bread in the oven.
Beat the egg yolks and Olive Oil to form an emulsion. Stir some of the soup into the Egg mixture then pour it back into the soup. Gently heat the soup stirring continually. At this point it is essential to keep the soup from boiling to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
To serve place slices of the toasted bread in the bottom of a bowl and pour the soup over it and enjoy!