Henry IV’s Favorite Food
Potato Garlic Soup is the kind of dish you want to dive into head first, it is so warming and flavorful, so gentle and delicious! And if you checked in with King Henry IV, he would muscle his way in before you. After all, garlic was his favorite food, his most dreamed of flavor, and he ate it whenever he could. His first mistress is said to have told him he smelled like a dead bird, from all the garlic he ate.
Cooks to Sweetness
Which may not be a story that tempts you to try this most wonderful soup but hang on! The garlic here cooks into a gentle sweetness with the potatoes, so that you get its flavor but nothing that will linger. And the icing on the cake here is an egg poached right in the soup. This not only makes it beautiful, and extraordinary, but it is so delicious you’ll find yourself making it over and over.
Why So Simple?
Getting back to Henry IV, you might wonder why a bejeweled, powerful, stately monarch was eating such peasant food as potato soup with garlic and egg. Well, he understood what those of us who turn to the land for our culinary inspiration know too – the best food originated in the farm kitchen. Made with ingredients from the farm, that were available in the season, like these dishes featured in PLAT DU JOUR, offer the finest, most pure flavor ever. It’s really a question of using local, seasonal ingredients and getting out of their way, to let them shine. That’s what happens in this quick-to-make soup.
They Know – Seasonal is Best
Today we have no king. But what we have in France is a population of chefs and eaters devoted to seasonal foods. And that’s what I hope you all will become, too: devoted to getting the best the season has to offer.
GARLIC AND POTATO SOUP FROM AGEN - TOURAIN BLANCHIE OU SOUPE A L’AIL
- 20 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 fresh bay leaf or dried imported
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 very large garlic cloves peeled peeled cloves
- 1 large (6 ounces;180g) large onion, diced
- 1 large (about 2 ounces;60g) shallot, diced
- 2 pounds;1kg starchy potatoes (such as a russet), peeled and cut in cubes
- 2 quarts;2 liters beef stock or water
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Several grinds of black pepper
- For the toasts:
- 6 slices country bread toasted
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- To finish the dish:
- 1 cup;10g 10g flat leaf parsley leaves, loosely packed
- 6 large eggs
- Tie the thyme sprigs and the bay leaf together with kitchen string.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium-high heat and add the garlic cloves. Cook, stirring, until they are golden on the outside, which will take about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and the shallot. Cook, stirring, until the onions begin to turn translucent, which will take about 5 minutes.
- Add the broth or water, the potatoes the thyme and bay leaf, and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the salt and pepper and cook until the potatoes and the garlic are completely tender through, which will take about 30 minutes. Adjust the seasoning.
- Make the toasts: place the bread in the toaster and when it is toasted to your liking, rub each piece with the garlic clove. Reserve.
- Using a potato masher or a fork, transform the soup into a rough puree. Return the soup to the heat and bring it nearly to the boil.
- Mince the parsley and stir it into the soup.
- Break the eggs into the soup and cook until the whites are firm, and the yolks are still soft, which will take about 6 minutes. You’ll need to drizzle some of the potato mixture over the eggs, to encourage them to cook.
- To serve, using a large ladle, ladle out the soup with an egg in it and place it gently into a shallow soup bowl. Ladle any remaining soup around the eggs. Garnish each with a parsley sprig and set a piece of toast in the soup bowl.