Sunday, 6 September 2009

French Bread, French Soup, Garlic, and Eggs.

The first thing that you will notice in these pictures is that there are two baguettes. The recipe makes three, and indeed I made three matching loaves of French bread. One got separated from the herd and was half gobbled up before the picture was taken. I apologize. I have a weakness for fresh warm bread.. and a little butter.
The other two posed valiantly for pictures, quickly forgetting about their sibling, until they too shared the fate of being devoured, one for the croutes for my soup and the other for sandwiches the next day. The life of a loaf of bread is short and ends violently. Alas, such is life.

The loaves are from Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice and the recipe can be found here. They were excellent, but I was a little wimpy on the browning. Next time I will be more brave and let them get darker. The kitchen is no place for fear!

So what does one do with a bounty of French bread? Make French soup!

This recipe is from good ol' Julia and had two intriguing ingredients - garlic and eggs. The garlic is simmered in water with salt, herbs, and a little olive oil, and then eggs are poached in it. Beautiful. I did the recipe as printed, but, as I find her recipes a bit mild for my taste, I used half the water. This made it doubly concentrated and a nice amount for two people. Perfect.
We poached the first two eggs in the broth, but when we finished off the soup we poached the second batch of eggs in regular water as there wasn't as much volume left of the soup.

Soup a l'Oeuf, Provencale
Garlic Soup with Poached Eggs
Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

1 separated head of garlic, unpeeled (about 16 cloves)
2 quarts water (I used one)
2 tsp salt
Pinch of pepper
2 cloves
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 bay leaf
4 parsley sprigs
1 Tbsp olive oil

6 eggs (I used 4)
Rounds of hard toasted French bread
Grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese
Chopped parsley for garnish

Drop garlic cloves in boiling water and boil 30 seconds. Drain, run cold water over them, and peel.
Place the garlic and the rest of the ingredients in the saucepan and boil slowly for 30 minutes. Correct seasoning.
After the soup has been simmered for half an hour, strain it into a wide, shallow saucepan. Correct seasoning and bring to a simmer. Poach the eggs in the soup.
Place a round of bread in each soup plate and top with a poached egg. Pour in the soup and decorate with parsley and sprinkle with cheese. Serve more cheese at the table.
Garlic Soup with Poached Eggs for Souper Sunday.

These baguettes have been Yeastspotted!