14 April 2011

Double Take: Julia Child’s Garlic Soup

Garlic soup with gruyere toast. 

We all know that Tabitha likes garlic, but I’ll be honest, I like it just as much as she does. The thought of garlic oozing out my pores does not scare me. Luckily, Bender likes garlic too; otherwise I’d probably up the creek without a paddle. When Tabitha found this recipe listed over on Hey, What’s for Dinner Mom? I was excited to make it. Despite Bender’s love of garlic, he doesn’t have a love of soup (well, minus my chicken soup when he’s sick). I knew I’d be making this one just for me, but decided that was okay. I opted to serve it with a roast chicken so I would have plenty of time to make the soup while the chicken was roasting away in the oven. My original plan had been to make it while he was out of town, but a cold threw me on my bum for over a week while he was gone. Talk about a bummer. (Luckily, I had plenty of Gilmore Girls to keep me company.)

Blanched garlic. It's SOO much easier to peel this way.

Tabitha and I had a lot of back and forth about this recipe before it actually got made by either of us. Neither of us read it very clearly before we agreed to make it. Oops. There is this whole section at the end of the recipe that essentially has you make a “mini” mayonnaise. What? All you are really doing is whisking three tablespoons of olive oil into three egg yolks. And then you add hot soup to the mixture, continuously whisking. As my arm began to fall off from all that whisking, I understood how Sookie St. James is able to beat Michel Gerard at arm wrestling contents: whisking really does build up your forearm strength! (I told you I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls! I’m also seriously tempted to make Richard’s grandmother’s Johnny Machete when I’m in the US next week. But frankly, it doesn’t look very good. Maybe I’ll just have the Mom make me poppy seed chicken and call it Jonny Machete?)

Oh yeah, garlic soup. I bet you want the recipe!

Peeled garlic. A whole head of garlic peeled in 3 minutes! 

Garlic Soup
adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking via Hey What’s for Dinner Mom?

1 head of garlic, about 16 cloves, broken apart but not peeled
enough water to cover the garlic
2 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt
2 pinches of pepper
3 whole cloves (I omitted these since I only had ground cloves)
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 Tablespoons parsley
1 bay leaf
3 egg yolks
3 Tablespoons olive oil
fresh croutons (recipe here)
1 cup shredded swiss cheese

Three medium egg yolks. So sunny and happy!
1. In a 4 quart dutch oven bring the first 2 quarts of water to boil. When the water boils add the garlic and boil for 30 seconds. Remove the garlic, drain, rinse under cold water, and peel the garlic.

2.  Pour out the original water and set the 2 quarts of water to boil. Add the garlic, seasonings, and herbs. Boil gently for 30 minutes.

3.  With 10 minutes left, beat the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl until thick and sticky. Whisk the oil into the yolks drop by drop until well incorporated. (I found it easiest to hold the tablespoon filled with oil over the bowl. The movement of my body from the whisking caused the oil to slosh fairly regularly out of the tablespoon and into the yolks.)

4.   Just before serving, add 1 ladle full of hot soup slowly (I used the same method I used for the oil) to the egg mixture and beat well.

5.  Slowly pour the hot soup through a strainer into the mixing bowl stopping occasionally stir it well. Serve topped with croutons and shredded swiss cheese.

After whisking in the olive oil. 

After whisking in the first ladle of soup.

Bleh. Meh. I couldn’t be more apathetic towards this soup. It was just there. The amount of salt was right on. The herbs were fine. I didn’t really taste the garlic, and it was extremely thin. I enjoy monotextured soups, but they need to have some heft to them. I don’t want it to feel like water in my mouth. Then it’s a beverage, not a soup. And well, this soup was more of a beverage. Bleh.

Tabitha did make an excellent point when we discussed the soup after she made it. I would make a good base for other soups. But on its own? Meh. I need more substance.

If-you-don’t-like-it-I’m-not-going-to-try-it: 1 vote
Meh: 1 vote

Have you made Julia Child's Garlic Soup? What did you think of it? Do you have a special way to make it pop?

To see Tabitha's take on Garlic Soup, head on over to Double the Garlic!

I brilliantly added the toast and walked away. When I came back the toast had
absorbed most of the soup! 
 PS: Happy Birthday, Aunt Vicki!


  1. I made this soup once, at least 10 years ago and we loved it! I can't remember much more about it than that, but I saw it recently when I was looking through some cookbooks and bookmarked it. Too bad you didn't love it.

  2. I tried this, too and I was not impressed. I think it could use 3 heads of garlic instead of 1 to give it more of a garlic kick. Add in some whip cream and reduce it a bit till it gets thicker.


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