Last updated on November 19th, 2015
I’m obsessed with this French peasant soup. It contains a lot of garlic, but it doesn’t taste “garlicky.” It’s deliciously mild, herbal, and clove-y. Need a comforting brew for a cold autumn evening? Garlic soup is the answer.
I actually wrote about French Garlic Soup, or Aigo Bouido, during the early years of this blog. Back when I didn’t know how to use a camera. Consequently, my pictures were embarrassingly bad. See exhibit A, above.
Confession time: I still don’t know how to use most of the buttons and wheels on my camera. One fine day, I’ll look at the manual.
Onto our soup!
To start, grab 2 heads of garlic.
Separate and smash the individual cloves, but do not peel them. Just put them in a soup pot, along with some water.
Add a few sprigs of fresh, roughly-chopped sage…
Some fresh, flat-leaf parsley, which you do not have to chop…
Some salt, pepper, and thyme (I used dried thyme)…
A Turkish bay leaf (available at most supermarkets)…
And a splash of good olive oil.
Bring the brew to a boil over a high flame. Then cover the pot, reduce the heat, and let simmer for exactly 30 minutes.
If you’d like to have some crunchy bread to accompany the soup, now would be a good time to slice up a French baguette (homemade baguettes are awesome). Put the slices on a baking sheet, and let them dry out for 20 minutes in a 325°F oven.
Also, grate up some Asiago, Swiss, or Gruyere cheese. You’ll want to pass the cheese with individual servings of the soup, just as our French friends do.
When the broth is ready, strain it, through a sieve, into a big blue bowl.
Using the back of a big spoon, press down on the contents of the sieve. This way, all the gorgeous juices will be released into the broth.
To thicken the soup, first put 3 large egg yolks in a medium-size bowl.
Whisk the yolks until thick — about 15 seconds. Then, while whisking constantly, add some olive oil to the yolks. You’ll end up with a sumptuous sauce.
No picture of these next 2 steps, because they require 2 hands: Whisk some hot broth into the yolks to temper them, and thus keep them from scrambling. Whisking constantly, add the yolks to the bowl of hot broth.
At this point, you might like to transfer the soup to an attractive serving piece (I used a tureen), and stir in a handful of minced, fresh parsley.
Ladle this herbal ambrosia into cups, mugs, or bowls, add a big pinch of shredded cheese, and a flourish of fresh parsley. Serve with the toasted rounds of baguette.
Oh. Pour out some goblets of chilled Sancere, too. It’s the ideal wine pairing for this soup.
This soup is so warm and comforting, it feels like a big ole hug. Don’t make me beg you to try it!
Here’s the printable, complete with metric measurements:
Don't let the title fool you. This soup is as mild and comforting as a big ole hug.
- 2 heads garlic, the individual cloves separated and smashed, but not peeled
- 2 quarts (1.9 liters) water
- 3 whole cloves (the spice)
- 2 teaspoons (11.38 g) kosher salt
- Grinds of black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.84 g) dried thyme (triple the amount for fresh leaves)
- 3 sprigs fresh sage, roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf (Turkish is best)
- 6 whole sprigs parsley, plus 1/2 cup (15 g) minced fresh parsley
- 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (59 ml) olive oil
- 1 cup (25 g) shredded Asiago, Swiss, or Gruyere cheese and toasted rounds of a baguette for passing
- Place all of the broth ingredients into a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, then partially cover the pan, and let simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve set over a large bowl, pushing down on the ingredients with the back of a wooden spoon to help extract their juices.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks until thick — about 15 seconds. Then gradually whisk in the olive oil until a thick, rich sauce develops — about 30 seconds. While whisking constantly, slowly add 1/2 cup (118 ml) hot broth to the yolks, to temper the sauce.
- Pour the soup into a tureen or large serving bowl. Whisk in the beaten yolks, and then stir in the minced parsley.
- To serve, ladle the soup into cups or bowls, letting guests add the shredded cheese to their own soup portion. Pass the toasted bread.
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Yum! This sounds delicious. My dogs are gaga for cheese, too.
I just drooled over this recipe and plan to get to the grocery store this afternoon for the ingredients –
A late October Sunday afternoon is an ideal time to start this fabulous and healthy
Donna J. says
Going to have to try this healthy, low carb, yummy soup! Kevin, I don’t know how to use all my buttons on my camera either and will read the manual some day, so you are not the only one!
Lulu Leman says
No thyme, is there an alternative Kevin?
I’m curious how the hot broth does not cook the eggs into eggy chunks, even with the whisking. Going to have to try this. Thanks for sharing!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Lulu – Thyme contributes much to the flavor of the soup. I would not omit the herb.
Hi Michelle — To keep the yolks from scrambling, you temper them first with a little broth. This step is included in the recipe above.
Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says
I have had my digital camera for 14 years. I still have the manual, unread. Compared to most modern digital cameras, mine is a dinosaur, size wise and function wise, but it has served me amazingly well. I don’t own a cell phone, but my husband’s cell phone turns into a camera to help me out in a pinch.
I have leftover garlic cloves from the one dozen heads I purchased for planting. They will be perfect for this dish.
making this right now! I have been down with bronchitis and I think this is just what the doctor ordered! thanks!
clara adkison says
This is my perfect soup for Halloween. ‘T’will keep the witches at bay.
Oh my, Garlic Soup! It sounds absolutely scrumptious. I can’t wait to lay in a supply of fresh organic garlic for a fun day in the kitchen – and the enjoyment with fresh bread and ‘sancere’. I’m not familiar with that wine but I must find it. I’m picturing a few green olives on the side – what do you think?
Catharine R. says
I made this soup a few years ago, right after you posted the recipe. So delicious! Time to make it again!
Brooklyn Bob says
Kevin, thanks for the recipe. I made it this afternoon, and you are right, it’s really mild and herby. I could drink the whole pot! And maybe I will.
I am SO going to make this garlic soup. And your recipe for homemade baguettes looks terrific!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Brooklyn Bob – So glad you tried — and liked — the soup!
I’m making this soup right now! I’ve been fighting a head cold all week and this fragrant recipe in my inbox was EXACTLY what I needed to perk me up (and a great way to use up the thyme and parsley in my garden before we get frost).
The house smells heavenly and my three dogs are all hanging out in the kitchen sniffing the air. I looked up the French name of the soup online and found that it is a Provencal tradition to make it on the night of December 25th. The webpage I read said it was to “help the digestion.”
I had my first taste of garlic soup in the Czech Republic in a small restaurant that now occupies the very house in Prague where my grandfather lived long ago. I would describe it as having been more bracing than subtle and it was served with divine rye bread.
I came home and spent hours in the kitchen trying to reproduce it. It can’t hurt to have more than one recipe for garlic soup.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Jenn — I’ll bet this soup does help with digestion, because it contains cloves. Let’s hope it cures your head-cold, too!
Hi Nancy – This is a fun recipe to play around with. One can always add more sage, less parsley, and etc. Enjoy!
It was fabulous! After his first sip, my husband said that this would also be a great base for a lower-calorie oyster stew (his family has a traditional oyster stew they serve on Christmas morning that starts with a couple of quarts of heavy cream). We loved it! Thanks for the inspiration.
I can’t wait to try it, thank you.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
HI Jenn – So glad you liked the soup!
I would add to this fabulous recipe another head of ROASTED garlic. Really chases the winter bugs away!
jean M Brown says
Oh this came at the perfect time, we have had a mild fall in Nebraska and it is just on my list to pull out my herb garden this week, but I have all those herbs in my garden still beautiful. I Make a pot of soup a week and this one is new to me, it will be my “Soup of the Week” and with all my fresh herbs, Thanks for sharing.. Oh, My camera came with a CD that I have never look at.
Joan Higgins says
Thanks for sharing another wonderful, healthy soup. I will try it soon. Like the Halloween get-up!
I am going to try this soup! Thank you for step by step instructions. It sounds so inviting on a brisk fall day.
What type of camera do you use for your photos? The colors are so lovely and focus so perfect.
Hi I was wondering if the soup still tasted fine as just a broth before adding the egg? Or if adding the sauce is necessary are there any vegan alternatives? The soup looks great and I would love to make it.
Hi I was wondering if the soup still tasted fine as just a broth before adding the egg? Or if adding the sauce is necessary are there any vegan alternatives to use instead of egg’s?
Steph McCarthy says
Christa Fraser says
Does this soup freeze well?
I just made this today for Halloween. No trick or treaters 🙁 The soup was terrific !! I made the grilled cheese toast with sourdough bread and cheddar cheese.
This is the first time I have ever tempered eggs and it worked ! Wooooo hooooo ! I am so proud of myself, thank you for the wonderful instructions. So far, no vampires sighted. If they come trick or treating, my husband and I will just breathe on them ! ;),