Tourain Blanchi à l’Ail

Tourain Blanchi à l’Ail

Traditional garlic soup

This delicate and velvety garlic soup from South-West France makes a heart-warming lunch a light starter for an evening meal. It will fill your kitchen with the wonderful smell of garlic frying in fat – a scent and flavour, which the soup manages to keep hold of right through the cooking process.

As with all the best French dishes, there are a zillion ways of cooking tourain blanchi. Here is one…

You will need:

• 1 generous dessert spoon of fat; duck, goose or pork. For vegetarians, use butter – oil will not be the same.
• 6 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
• 2 dessert spoons of plain flour
• 1 1/2 litres of water
• 1 dessert spoon of wine vinegar (preferably white)
• 1 egg, separated
• Good pinch of salt and optional pepper
• Optional country bread, preferably day-old.

Serves 4 as a main dish, or 6 in small bowls for a starter.

What to do:

• Fry the garlic very gently in the fat, until golden. Don’t allow it to brown.
• Stir in the flour to make a roux. You may need a little extra fat to make it smooth.
• Gradually stir in the water bit by bit, taking care that the emulsion is always relatively uniform before adding more water.
• Bring the soup to the boil, and keep boiling for 20 minutes.
• Turn down the heat, and pour in the egg white. Try to drizzle rather than plonking it in.
• Mix the yolk with the vinegar, and stir a little of the soup into this mixture.
• Take the pan off the heat, and stir in the rest of the yolk mix.
• If using bread, put a slice in the bottom of each bowl. Moisten each slice with a little soup, before ladling in the rest of the serving.

A rosé goes well with this tourain, and don’t forget to do ‘lou chabrol‘. *

*Add a little wine to the last of the soup in your bowl, stir and drink, bowl in both hands.

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Gemma is a food writer, who lived in France for eight years, and now divides her time between her cottage in the rural Dordogne and her home in the UK.

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