This easy and flavorful soup is part of the traditional Provençal Christmas Eve dinner. You don’t need to wait for Christmas -- it would make a delicious addition to a late Autumn tailgate picnic, or a savory starter for many winter dinners. A student in one of my cooking classes suggested adding the roasted garlic at the end. I think you’ll agree it adds the perfect finishing touch. —ChefJune
large cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
large yellow onions, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 quarts
hot (whole) milk
large all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced
fresh sage leaves
dried bay leaf
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
large egg yolks
1 1/3 cups
heavy cream, preferably NOT ultrapasteurized
heads roasted garlic, peeled and separated into cloves
Cook garlic and onions in the olive oil in a large covered pan. Let the garlic gently sweat until it is soft, and make sure that it does not brown.
Sprinkle the flour over the garlic and onions and continue stirring for 3 minutes until the vegetables appear to be a thick smooth paste. Whisk in the hot milk, add sage, bay leaf, and seasoning, then bring to the boil. Immediately reduce the heat to a mere simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Strain the soup base through a sieve. Pick out the herb leaves, then push through all the vegetable matter. (The soup can be prepared ahead to this point.)
Beat the egg yolks and cream together. (Reheat soup base if necessary.) Slowly add 3 or 4 ladles of hot soup to the eggs, then pour the eggs into the soup. Cook over gentle heat, stirring constantly until it thickens slightly. Do not allow to boil. Adjust the consistency with additional milk if necessary to form soup of light cream consistency. Separate and peel the cloves of roasted garlic and add them to the soup. Make sure they are heated through. Adjust seasoning. Serve the soup steaming hot, in mugs or deep bowls, and float a crouton on top. Pass additional croutons in a basket.