This traditional garlic soup from Castile may very well be what sustained Don Quixote in his windmill attacks. It is a simple soup and a type of gazpacho, in the sense that bread is used as a thickener. Spanish smoked paprika, or pimentón de la Vera—which comes in sweet, bittersweet or hot varieties, depending on your preference—is produced in a neighboring region and provides the distinguishing flavor to the soup.
Castilian Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo)
- 1 piece (4 inches/10 cm long) baguette
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided 60 mL
- 2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika 10 mL
- 4 oz dry-cured chorizo sausage, chopped 125 g
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken stock 1 L
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 eggs
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley 60 mL
- • Preheat broiler
- • Rimmed baking sheet
- 1. Cut baguette into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick slices and cut each slice cut into quarters. In a bowl, toss bread with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil. Transfer to baking sheet and broil under preheated broiler, watching closely and turning several times, until evenly browned. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with paprika and set aside.
- 2. In a large saucepan, heat remaining oil over low heat. Add chorizo and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. (Do not brown.) Stir in stock and reserved bread. Reduce heat and simmer until bread is very swollen, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- 3. One at a time, break eggs into a ladle or a cup and slide gently into the soup. Cover and simmer until the whites are firm but the yolks are still soft, about 3 minutes.
- 4. Carefully ladle into warm serving bowls, including an egg in each serving. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.
- Use smoked sweet, bittersweet or hot paprika to suit your taste. If your chorizo is particularly spicy, err on the side of caution and use smoked sweet paprika.
- Don’t worry if the eggs break when you transfer them to the bowls. They break anyway when being consumed, and are just as tasty.
Judith Finlayson https://judithfinlayson.com/