The changing of the seasons is always the best time for food and drink, I think. By the end of summer, I'm rather grumpy about the heat, declaring that I won't make a single thing for dinner that requires heat and pining for the day when I can roast and braise and fry. Not to mention exchanging my Vinho Verde and Hefeweizen for Pinot Noir and porter. Well, the day has come.
Amy and Jonny, in their blog post, recommend pairing this with a rustic red wine, which I think would be lovely and much welcome in the winter. However, I went with WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT and drank a Sauvignon Blanc with dinner (the same one I used in the recipe...which is why you should always cook with a wine good enough to drink on its own). I found the bright citrus notes very refreshing with this soup - it cut right through the richness.
This soup truly celebrates a new season. And don't be afraid of all the garlic; when simmered for a long period of time, it turns sweet, mellow, and fragrant. My last piece of advice is that you avoid the mistake I made: don't wait for two years to make this soup. Make it this week.
Eat, drink, and don't worry about your breath.
SOUPE A L'AIL ET AU VIN (Garlic and Wine Soup)
Adapted - only slightly - from We Are Never Full
4-5 heads garlic (50-60 cloves)
4 oz pancetta, cubed
3 tablespoons plain flour
5 cups warm low-sodium beef stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 egg yolks
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1 cup Cantal cheese (Gruyere or Emmentaler would work too), grated
4-6 slices toasted country bread
1. Separate each clove of garlic from the head and crush lightly with the side of a knife. Do not remove the skin.
2. Reserve one clove. Peel it and chop it finely. Keep for later use.
3. Gently render the cubed pancetta over medium heat in a large stockpot, until pieces are golden brown.
4. Add flour and stir into the fat. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
5. Gradually add warm stock to the roux, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
6. Bring to a boil and add the garlic. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, mix the white wine with the egg yolks in a 1-quart measuring jug (or a large bowl). Also, place bread on a baking sheet and toast under the broiler for about 3 minutes. Add grated cheese and broil for an additional 2 minutes. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn.
8. After 45 minutes, strain soup through a sieve to remove garlic, skins, and pancetta. Return soup to pot.
9. Add several ladle-fulls of the simmering liquid to the eggs and wine to gently heat (temper) the yolks.
10. Then, add the egg yolk mixture back to the stock post and stir well.
11. Reheat soup until it shows a few bubbles. Do not allow to boil.
12. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.
13. Mash the reserved garlic clove with chopped parsley (make a persillade).
14. Ladle soup into bowls. Add bread slice on top, ladle soup over the bread, and sprinkle the whole thing with the persillade. Enjoy!
NOTE: I actually forgot the parsley on my grocery list. Which is why you see no persillade in my photo. It worked okay but I'd recommend the persillade, if not for flavor then at least for looks.
A NOTE ON KID-FRIENDLINESS: Who are we kidding? Bug wouldn't touch this with a 10-foot pole. She had "Kid Dinner" and then we enjoyed this for "Adult Dinner" after she had gone to bed.