Sopa de Ajo (Castilian garlic soup)

May 27, 2010 by Susana Fare

I really enjoy traveling around the Mediterranean region through my cooking.

Food is an international language, and all countries in this area always have a delicious and nutritious dish to match each particular country and region that it originated from.

Based on that, from the Spanish region of Castile, here is my vegetarian version of Sopa de Ajo (Castilian garlic soup), from Jose Andres.

The only ingredient I changed from the original recipe, is that I substituted vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I also used more garlic because I love garlic!

The cuisine of Castile, Spain, uses a lot of bread, especially for soup. Actually, it’s called, “The Land of Bread.” (The secret is to use it freshly baked and not from leftovers).

Garlic soup is an old farmer-style comfort food, which is typical for that region. It’s mostly eaten daily in wintertime, especially by workers after they’ve worked had in the cold weather. Spaniards are proud people, and this Castilian dish is representative of this–regardless of which region it may have originated from.

Garlic is also a key element in Spanish cuisine. Garlic and olive oil is ubiquitous and used throughout the entire Mediterranean region in their food. What a great combination!

According to the book“101 Foods That Could Save Your Life,” not much is known about garlic’s history.

What is known, is that there are inscriptions in the Cheops pyramid in Egypt mentioning the marvels of garlic. Indians and Babylonians used it around 4,500 years ago. It’s also found in writings from China as far back as 4,000 years ago. So it’s a logical deduction that Garlic’s origin is probably from the regions between China and India.

Garlic is used both as a food and a medicine. It’s also mentioned both in the Bible, and by the Greeks. I have only good things to say about about garlic, especially because of its anti-cancer preventive effects.

To increase its health benefits I usually follow the advice at The World’s Healthiest Foods website. According to the author, it’s better to cut, mince, or slice garlic before cooking it before letting it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. That way, it releases all its components that are together, other than when it’s whole. After that, after cooked, its components and the anticancer activity is preserved.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12-16 large garlic cloves peeled and sliced, depending on your taste
  • 2 tbsp white wine (optional)
  • ½ tbsp pimentón (Spanish sweet paprika)
  • 3 oz rustic white bread, crust removed, torn into small pieces
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan oven medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden brown for about one minute. If used, add the wine and cook until the alcohol evaporates –about 30 seconds-. Then add then the pimentón and sauté for one more minute.

Add the bread and pour in the vegetable broth. Stir together and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.

At this point I would prefer to load the soup in the food processor –in batches if necessary- to obtain a thick and even result.

Add the eggs and stir with a spatula to fold them into the soup. The eggs will form long strands, similar to noodles. Simmer for one more minute. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Serves: 4

Note: The traditional way was made using water. However, vegetable broth will make this soup thicker and more enjoyable.

If you want or need more vegetarian recipes or instructions on different dishes, you can find them here, or at my blog Spanish Steps.

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One Response to “Sopa de Ajo (Castilian garlic soup)”

  1. Adventure-Some Matthew says:

    Ooo… this sounds good! I’ll have to give it a try sometime. Thanks for sharing!
    Adventure-Some Matthew´s last blog ..Back to Adventure-Some’s Roots My ComLuv Profile

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