Sunday, November 25, 2012

Saffron-Flavored Garlic Soup with Potatoes: A Julia Child Variation for Food 'n Flix: Julie & Julia and Souper (Soup, Salad & Samie) Sundays

Julie & Julia is our film choice this month for Food 'n Flix and it is the ultimate foodie flick. An amazing cast of some of my favorite people--Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci and Amy Adams and written and directed by the late Nora Ephron (more on her later this month as her book Heartburn is our current Cook the Books selection), The film moves back and forth between the amazing Julia Child's life in 1950's France and the modern-day story of food blogger Julie Powell, who cooked her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking

I saw it when it came out with my Mom (good mother-daughter bonding) and my recent re-watch on Netflix confirmed that the Julia Child parts of the film are my favorites. Streep is so dead-on as Child it is amazing, and Julia's My Life in France is a classic. I read Julie Powell's book and did ultimately like it, but found it hard to get past her often whiny-poor-me tone that carries over into the movie, and although portrayed well by Adams, grates on my nerves. ;-) Still, the movie is utterly charming, full of great food and it remains a favorite. Thanks to our host Leslie at La Cocina Leslie for choosing it. 

For a movie-inspired dish, I just opened up my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Although a lot of what was featured in the film is not really in my eating plan at the moment, I as confident the right Julia Child recipe was there for me. I found it in the soup section, Aigo Bouido or Garlic Soup. I was going to make the original garlic soup recipe but the variation with saffron and potatoes caught my eye. 

I wouldn't be me if I didn't make a couple of small changes--reducing the oil and pureeing part of the soup with some of the strained garlic cloves for a velvety broth. I think if she tasted it, Julia would approve!

Saffron-Flavored Garlic Soup with Potatoes (Soupe à l'Ail aux Pommes de Terre)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
(Serves about 4)

Ingredients for garlic soup (recipe below) omitting the egg yolks and olive oil liaison 
3 cups diced "boiling" potatoes
pinch saffron

After the garlic soup has simmered for 30 minutes, strain it and return it to the saucepan. Simmer the potatoes in the soup with the saffron for about 20 minutes or until tender. Correct seasoning. Serve with French bread and grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese

(Deb's variation: Take  about 1 1/2 cups of the soup mixture and blend with about 1/2 of the strained garlic cloves. Stir back into soup mixture. To serve, top each bowl of soup with a slice of toasted baguette topped with grated Gruyère

Note: I have included the entire garlic soup recipe below. To make the saffron-potato variation just omit the ingredients and directions for the egg mixture. 

Julia says, "Enjoying your first bowl of garlic soup, you might never suspect what it is made of. Because the garlic is boiled, its after-effects are at a minimum, and its flavor becomes exquisite, aromatic and almost undefinable. Along the Mediterranean, aigo bouido is considered to be very good indeed for the liver, blood circulation, general physical tone and spiritual health. A head of garlic is not  at all too much for 2 quarts of soup. For some addicts it isn't even enough.

Garlic Soup (Aigo Bouido)

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

(For 6 to 8 People)

1 separated head (or about 16 cloves) whole, unpeeled garlic

2 quarts water

2 tsp salt

pinch of pepper

2 cloves

1/4 tsp sage

1/4 tsp thyme

1/2 bay leaf

4 parsley sprigs

3 Tbsp olive oil (I used 1 Tablespoon)

a 3-quart saucepan

a wire whip

3 egg yolks

a soup tureen

3 to 4 Tbsp olive oil

a strainer

rounds of hard-toasted French Bread

1 cup of grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese 

Drop garlic cloves in boiling water and boil 30 seconds. Drain, run cold water over them and peel.

Place the garlic and the rest of the ingredients in the sauce pan and boil slowly for 30 minutes. Correct seasoning. 

Beat the egg yolks in the soup tureen for a minute until they are thick and sticky. Drop by drop, beat in the olive oil as for making a mayonnaise.

Just before serving beat a ladleful of hot soup into the egg mixture by droplets. Gradually strain in the rest, beating and pressing the juice out of the garlic. Serve immediately, accompanied by the bread and cheese. 

Silky, complex with the smooth garlic flavor present but not at all overpowering--this is a slightly sophisticated and elegant bowl of soup. The soup is good on its own, but the toasted crouton with the Gruyère cheese makes it even better. I definitely recommend blending just a small amount of the soup to give it the velvety texture with plenty of bites of potato left. I would make this again. 

Leslie will be rounding up all of the Food 'n Flix--Julie & Julia inspired dishes on her blog after the deadline on 11/28. If you missed this round and love movies and food, join in December where we will be watching the original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory--hosted at

Now we have Heather and Janet waiting with salads in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's take a look.

Heather of girlichef offers up this Butternut Squash, Yellow Raisin, & Pine Nut Salad with Pomegranate and says, "Who likes to see a big, beautiful salad on their holiday table?  This girl does.Who always forgets until the very last minute that they didn't "plan" a big, beautiful salad as a part of their holiday menu?  As in always.  Every year.  MmmHmm.  This girl does. One more... Who puts a big, beautiful salad bathed in TURMERIC into one of their favorite, white-washed wooden bowls and turns it neon yellow?  Still. This. Girl. {Sigh} t's a good thing that it was tasty and hearty (for a salad) and yes, beautiful. Not only would this make a fantastic side salad at your holiday table, it also makes for a wonderful lunch all by itself. Maybe with a class of crisp white wine."

Janet of The Taste Space shares a Caramelized Fennel and Quinoa Salad with Cilantro and Dill and says, "My current infatuation is with fennel. This time, I tried caramelizing it like I do with onions. A long slow braise to express all the natural sugars while taming the boldness of the anise. Silky and sweet, I really enjoyed  fennel this way. I sprinkled it with cumin and lemon juice for a second level of flavour. Then, it is tossed with quinoa in a punchy salad spiked with cilantro and dill with chunks of lemon. The Aleppo chiles added a nice wave of heat contrasting the sweet fennel. While caramelizing the massive amount of fennel, you may wonder how everything will fit into the salad, but trust me. It wilts a bit and I loved that this was a fennel heavy quinoa salad, instead of a quinoa heavy salad. Tossed overtop baby spinach, it was delicious."

Thanks to Janet an d Heather for joining in this week. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share--just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. loved "my life in france" as well as the movie.

  2. As a blogger, I loved that movie but I'm not sure I really would have liked it as much as a regular moviegoer. Either way, this soup sounds fabulous! I love all the flavor that is infused into it from the garlic broth!

  3. Uuuummmm, no kidding - I would eat a big ol' bowl of that soup for breakfast right now. It seriously sounds amazing.

  4. I almost always puree a bit of my potato soups and I bet that garlic was delicious!

  5. I love how you find such positive things in everything... I didn't really like the movie because I found the blogger aspect really off-putting... however, the parts with Julia Child were better. Love your Deb-version of Julia's soup, though. :) We just got snow today so I may have more soups for you these next few weeks... finally feels like winter. :)

  6. Yum! Delicious dish for this movie. I love it and it seems perfect for the season.

    With that said, I'm starting a new party on my blog called Pantry Party. It's a once a month type thing. Maybe you'll want to join in :)

  7. Saffron and garlic?! Oh, my. That is a must-try for me.


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