Saturday, February 11, 2012

Garlic Soup with Poached Eggs

This soup is all about the accompaniments. Garlicky toast, a poached egg, cilantro, crushed red pepper, and a squeeze of lime turn a simple garlic broth into something closer to hot and and sour soup. Light, but satisfying, this soup takes under 30 minutes from start to finish.  It would make a great light lunch or go with a flavorful grilled meat (think steak with chimichurri). I got this out of one of the Best of Gourmet cookbooks. And if I were going to change anything for next time, I'd probably add more garlic since the garlic flavor is surprisingly understated next to all the other flavors.   
The recipe starts with a whole head of thinly sliced garlic. I love garlic, but I hate peeling it. It rates right up there with taking apart and cleaning a blender in the category of annoying kitchen chores. So I present you with this handy little device. It's a garlic peeler that you simply roll across the table to with a clove or two inside and it removes the skin. You could get the same effect by rubbing the cloves in a kitchen towel between your hands, but then you'd have a kitchen towel that would forever smell like garlic and have skin clinging all over it.
After you've got your garlic peeled and thinly sliced you saute it with some olive oil until it just browns a little:
Then you take the garlic out and make toast in the now garlic-infused oil:
Then you take the toast out, add the garlic, some crushed red pepper, and stock (I used some of the turkey stock I made last week). And poach some eggs in the soup:
At a low simmer the eggs take about 4 min until the whites are set, but the yolks are still totally runny. You could cook them more if you want, but like this they'll enrich the broth when you crack open the yolk in the soup to eat it.

The assembly:

Garlic Soup with Poached Eggs
adapted slightly from The Best of Gourmet: Featuring the Flavors of San Francisco
Serves 4

1 medium head of garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 baguette slices cut 1/2 inch thick (I used a flavored ciabatta, which was also good.)
1 quart chicken broth or stock (I used home made turkey stock.)
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
4 large eggs
1/2 cup packed fresh chopped cilantro (I didn't measure but probably used closer to double this amount. I love cilantro!)
4 lime wedges

1. In a saucepan, over medium-low heat saute the garlic in the olive oil until it browns slightly. Remove garlic and set aside.

2. Increase the heat slightly and toast the baguette slices in the same pan, turning once. Remove the toast and arrange in 4 bowls.

3. Return the garlic to the pan and add the stock and crushed red pepper. Bring to a low simmer.

4. Crack an egg in a small bowl and gently easy it into the simmering broth. Repeat with remaining eggs. Poach for about 4 minutes until white is cooked through.

5. With a slotted spoon remove the eggs and put one in each bowl. Season with salt.

6. Ladle hot soup into bowls, top with chopped cilantro, and serve with lime wedges.

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