My Around the World posts feature my attempts at authentic and inspired dishes from…around the world. If you have tips (especially any passed down through generations), recommendations for ingredient brands, or memories of personal food experiences related to this post, please do share.
Tonight, we’re going to the Castilla-Leon region of Spain with sopa de ajo. I haven’t travelled to Spain, yet, but I had a wonderful, really comforting sopa de ajo at a restaurant we discovered in Paso Robles while visiting Central Coast California a couple of years ago. Sopa de ajo is a peasant-style soup that is full of flavor despite its simplicity. Sean told me he felt like he was coming down with a sore throat, so I made him this soup that is sweet with garlic and pungent with smoked paprika. (This is a good secret ingredient for the pantry, by the way.) The soup must have been healing, too, because his symptoms pretty much went away by the next day.
8-10 cloves of garlic, half made into paste and half thinly sliced
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
~2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
4 c chicken broth
2-3 slices of day old country-style bread, torn into bite-size pieces
To make the garlic into a paste, you can mince it first and then mash it with coarse salt with the flat side of your knife blade or grate it on your microplane. Heat up a medium saucepan or pot with olive oil on medium heat, and add your garlic to it. Keep stirring it and make sure to have your other ingredients handy; you don’t want scorched garlic. Add smoked paprika and continuing stirring for about 30 seconds. Add your bread pieces and stir to coat. Then add in chicken broth (homemade if you’ve got it) and simmer for about 20 minutes. Season with kosher salt to taste. Crack open 2 eggs into the simmering broth, and poach until desired doneness. I like my yolk to be slightly runny, so it enriches my soup when I break into it. There’s nothing more comforting!
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