"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Garlic soup for the sick

by Julie Tilsner on October 24, 2009

in Good Ideas Gone Bad, Soups

Dracula You have to sound pretty bad for a 9-year-old boy to look up from his Halo game and ask if he needs to call the doctor for you. When I shook my head weakly he got up anyway and poured a few teaspoons of honey into a bowl and set it by my bed. “You said this helps coughs, so eat it all.” The Drama Tween has been admonishing me to go back to bed and get some sleep. Awww.

Really, what I thought I needed now, besides more sleep and a moist sponge to mop up the spilled honey, was a big bowl of garlic soup.

And Heidi Swanson had a version that stopped me in my tracks. Her riff on Richard Olney’s classic French garlic soup. It sounded like just the thing to cure all that ailed me.

That was the theory, anyway.

I didn’t have the foresight to buy fresh sage at the Farmer’s Market the other day. Or fresh Thyme. But I did have half a baguette of stale French bread and grated Parmesan and a head of garlic.

So with my head still spinning, I set out to make this soup. It sounded simple enough. Here’s the recipe: (Adapted by Heidi Swanson from Richard Olney’s classic garlic soup recipe)

4 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 sage leaves
3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
a dozen medium cloves of garlic, smashed peeled, and chopped
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Binding pommade (Pommade? Sounds like a hair gel to me, but what do I know?):
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (which, I figured, was just under 1/4 cup of the stuff)
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
day-old crusty bread & more olive oil to drizzle

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the bay leaf, sage, thyme, garlic, and salt. Heat to a gentle boil and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain into a bowl, remove the bay and sage leaves from the strainer, and return the broth and garlic back to the saucepan, off the heat. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Here’s the tricky part. Especially if you’re me. With a fork, whisk the egg, egg yolks, cheese, and pepper together in a bowl until creamy. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, beating all the time, then add, very, very slowly,and continuing to whisk, a large ladle-full of the broth. Stir vigorously and then put this into the garlic broth and continue whisking over low-medium heat until it thickens slightly, to the consistency of half-and-half or cream. Pour this over some torn bread chunks and finish with a drizzle of olive oil, and serve immediately.

It was all going great until I stopped whisking long enough to ladle some of this into a bowl. That’s when my broth and my “pommade” began to curdle.

Since I can’t smell anything right now, I wasn’t getting any pleasing garlicky smell (although my neighbor did mention the aroma). So what I got instead was a soup with an alarming cheesy texture. It tasted ok. But the texture…it put me off from a second bowl. And left me wondering what I didn’t do right, because surely it wasn’t supposed to be a bowl full of grainy, cottage-cheese like soup, was it?

At any rate, my garlic soup succeeded in knocking the last of my cold from my system, although I still can’t smell anything. Ten points for the healing properties. Zero points for texture.

I probably should have realized that anything requiring a “pommade” was beyond my ken and that I should have stuck with the tried and true, like Julia Child’s garlic soup recipe, which I made last cold season, to pleasing results.

At least I’m better now. I mean my cold, not my cooking.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

FECHO November 23, 2009 at 9:19 am

Oh, I just chanced on your site… I love it! Almost like Candid Camera shots of my own kitchen. 🙂 But seriously, I know the secret of how to avoid the curdling. You have to make sure that the broth is not boiling when you pour in the eggs. So take the pot off the heat for while you whisk the eggs (turn the heat to medium, also) and mix them into the by now somewhat cooler broth. Then put it back on the medium hot heating element and stir it constantly until it thickens a bit. Voila, no “scrambled eggs soup”.


garlica sarımsak hapı yorumları December 7, 2009 at 2:59 am

All meals are rich in vitamin a garlic flavor and adds a natural antibiotic and he is good in my swine flu


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