I took enormous pleasure dunking lots of bread in my soup when I was a child. In advance of eating it, lots of bread, sometimes killing the soup in the process. I occasionally ended up with a disappointing bowl of flavoured soggy bread. Castilian garlic soup is the perfect soup for people who love to dunk bread in their soup. It is perfectly balanced, the bread has absorbed the flavours and then yielded to everything, this soup is the ultimate bowl of comfort. One of, at any rate.
I first had this soup at Botin in Madrid, Spain. A prelude to my meal of roast suckling pig, which is what I had come to try. Garlic soup though? Lets give that a bash too. What arrived was a bowl of soup rich with bread, stringy egg and a punchy broth. I loved it, and I have had it many times since.
From Castilla in Spain, a region that I have also visited (and loved), I could see that their cold winters would demand bowls of such hearty goodness. It gets below zero here some days, and it is hot in summer. As with all simple recipes, a good bowl relies on good ingredients. Make your own broth if you can, if you can’t source a good one at your supermarket or butcher. Use old bread, but make it good bread, it makes all the difference. Pale soggy supermarket bread will disintegrate on impact and resemble a toilet roll can to meet its maker. We don’t want that. Lots of garlic, and then paprika, a fresh egg. I usually use Spanish smoked paprika (hot for me, but you can use the milder sweet one if you prefer. This time I used an Hungarian one, a terrific one that I am using in most everything right now, and so the soup is a little more orange than it normally is.
Enjoy! Take yourself to Spain for your supper. Here is some more reading and travel inspiration also.
The recipe follows after the links.
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp paprika (Spanish for authenticity and smokiness, I like Hungarian here also)
- half a day old baguette, or the equivalent of good bread, cut into thin slices
- 1 litre of chicken stock (homemade is best here, or good stuff from the shop)
- 2 eggs
- torn flat leaf parsley to serve
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper