The most common way to include egg in a soup is to use the egg drop method — beaten egg is poured in a thin stream into the hot soup, allowed to set minimally then stirred to form wispy threads of yellow in the soup. In many Asian soup dishes, including congee although it is technically not a soup, an egg is cracked directly into the bowl of hot soup just before serving and the diner simply stirs the egg in to “cook” it making the broth, or congee, creamier and richer. Still another way is to drop hard boiled eggs into the cooked soup — whole, halved, quartered or sliced — and quail eggs are particularly popular.
So I was wondering if there is some other way to add egg to a soup, I thought about the skillet sausage and eggs and decided to apply the same principle to soup. In short, make a chunky soup, ladle the soup into individual bowls, crack an egg into each bowl, sprinkle the egg with a bit of salt, pepper and herbs, then put the bowl into the microwave and heat the soup just until the egg is set. Considering how it has been raining (storming, actually) all week, think of it as adding a dash of sunshine into your soup.
The best soup to execute this trick on is a really chunky soup because there has to be enough solids to hold the egg up while it cooks; otherwise, it will sink to the bottom of the bowl. I used a variation of my sausage, pasta, tomato and cabbage soup but feel free to use your own chunky soup recipe or browse through the soup recipe archive to find inspiration. If I may recommend, the farmer’s soup, the chunky ham and mushroom soup, the ham and pasta soup and the pamplina are all ideal.
What herbs to top the egg with? That really depends on the soup you’re using. Parsley is always a safe choice as it is mild and rarely goes against any flavor.
What else can go on top of the egg? Grated cheese. It’s something I realized after the cooking was done. But, next time, cheese definitely.
What to serve the soup with? Buttered toast is my choice. But… Here’s the BIG BUT. If I had some of those round crusty breads that can hold liquid in, I’d use whole loaves of bread for bowls. I’d slice the top of the bread off, scoop out the soft bread inside, pour the soup in, crack the egg over the soup and bake everything until the bread is hot, the soup is bubbly and the egg is set. Not in the microwave though because bread has this habit of turning rubbery when microwaved for more than a minute. It’ll have to be the oven, preheated to about 400F so that the baking time is short but all the desired texture is achieved.
So, now that I’ve described what I wish I could have done if I had loaves of crusty bread in the house, I can’t wipe the image of egg-topped soup in a bread bowl off my mind. I gotta make that soon. Very soon.