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Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo) Recipe

Indulge in the warmth and comfort of this rustic Spanish Garlic Soup, also known as Sopa de Ajo. This hearty soup is not only simple to prepare but is also packed full of aromatic flavors, transforming basic ingredients into a dish that is both satisfying and delicious.

Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo) Recipe
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Photos of Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo) Recipe

The key ingredient in this recipe is the French bread. It's not your typical soup ingredient but it adds texture and body to the soup, making it hearty and filling. The ham required is the dry-cured variety, commonly found in Spanish cuisine. If it isn't readily available, any type of dry-cured ham can be used. The rest of the ingredients like garlic, olive oil, and paprika are pantry staples.

Key Ingredients for Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo)

French bread: It's the unique ingredient of this soup, providing a thick body and robust texture.

Extra-virgin olive oil: Used for sautéing the garlic and ham, it adds a rich flavor.

Garlic: Gives an aromatic depth to the soup.

Ham: Dry cured ham adds a savory touch.

Paprika: This spice gives a smoky flavor and a beautiful color to the soup.

Chicken broth: Forms the base of the soup, adding a depth of flavors.

Cayenne pepper: Brings a spicy kick to the soup. Adjust to taste.

Salt and black pepper: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.

Fresh flat-leaf parsley: Adds a fresh, herbaceous note to the dish.

Eggs: They are poached directly in the soup, giving it a rich and creamy element.

One reader, Harlene Harwell says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

This Spanish garlic soup recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are rich and comforting, and the addition of the eggs on top adds a delightful touch. The aroma of garlic and paprika fills the kitchen, making it a truly satisfying dish. I highly recommend trying it out!

Harlene Harwell

Techniques Required for Making Sopa de Ajo

How to prepare the bread: Cut the French bread into small cubes and spread them onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until crispy and lightly browned.

How to cook the garlic and ham: In a heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook and stir the garlic until golden, then add the ham and cook until heated through.

How to incorporate the paprika: Add the paprika to the garlic and ham mixture and cook for an additional minute to infuse the flavors.

How to poach the eggs: Crack each egg into a small bowl or cup. Make depressions in the bread on top of the soup and slowly pour an egg into each depression. Cover the pot with a lid and cook until the egg whites are firm and the yolks are thick but not hard.

How To Make Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo)

Imbibed with Spanish flavors, this savory sopa de ajo is filled with the flavors of garlic, ham, paprika, and spices, then topped with poached eggs.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 6cupsfrench bread,cubed
  • 1tbspextra-virgin olive oil,plus an additional ¼ cup
  • 6clovesgarlic,very thinly sliced, or more to taste
  • 2ozham,diced
  • tsppaprika,smoked, or to taste
  • 6cupschicken broth,or more as needed
  • 1pinchcayenne pepper,or to taste
  • salt and ground black pepper,to taste
  • ¼cupfresh flat-leaf parsley,chopped
  • 4large eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  2. Spread the French bread onto the prepared baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top.

  3. Gently stir to coat the bread.

  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until crispy and lightly browned.

  5. Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.

  6. Cook and stir the garlic in hot oil for 1 to 2 minutes until just golden. Add the ham.

  7. Cook and stir for about 1 minute until heated through.

  8. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of paprika and cook for 1 minute more.

  9. Pour the bread into the pot and toss to coat with hot oil mixture.

  10. Pour the chicken broth into the bread mixture.

  11. Add the cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper and stir.

  12. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and stir in the parsley.

  13. Crack each egg into a small bowl or cup.

  14. Make 4 depressions in the bread on top of the soup with a spoon.

  15. Slowly pour an egg into each depression.

  16. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the egg whites are firm and yolks are thick but not hard.

  17. Ladle soup into bowls and spoon an egg on top.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 472.47kcal
  • Fat: 15.70g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.05g
  • Trans Fat: 0.02g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 7.31g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.93g
  • Carbohydrates: 55.71g
  • Fiber: 2.75g
  • Sugar: 9.52g
  • Protein: 26.45g
  • Cholesterol: 204.88mg
  • Sodium: 1203.15mg
  • Calcium: 103.37mg
  • Potassium: 654.91mg
  • Iron: 5.37mg
  • Vitamin A: 121.62µg
  • Vitamin C: 7.71mg

Technique Tip for Enhancing the Flavor of Spanish Garlic Soup

When preparing the sopa de ajo, it's crucial to not overcook the garlic. Garlic can easily burn and become bitter, which would affect the overall flavor of the soup. To avoid this, keep the heat at medium and constantly stir the garlic until it's just golden. Also, when adding the eggs, make sure to crack each one into a separate bowl before adding it to the soup. This way, if any shell gets into the egg, you can easily remove it without it getting lost in the soup. Lastly, remember to add the parsley towards the end of the cooking process to retain its fresh flavor and vibrant color.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Spanish Garlic Soup

Prep ahead: Chop and measure all ingredients before starting to cook to streamline the process.

Use a food processor: Utilize a food processor to quickly chop garlic, parsley, and other ingredients.

Multi-task: While the bread is toasting in the oven, start preparing the soup base to save time.

Organize your workspace: Keep all ingredients and utensils within reach to avoid wasting time searching for items.

Follow the recipe: Read through the entire recipe before starting to ensure you understand the steps and can work efficiently.

Clean as you go: Wash and put away utensils and dishes as you cook to minimize cleanup time later.

Use a pressure cooker: Consider using a pressure cooker to speed up the cooking process for the soup base.

Substitute Ingredients For Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo) Recipe

  • French bread - Substitute with Italian bread: Italian bread has a similar texture and flavor to French bread, making it a suitable substitute for the Spanish garlic soup recipe.

  • Extra-virgin olive oil - Substitute with Avocado oil: Avocado oil has a mild flavor and high smoke point, making it a good substitute for extra-virgin olive oil in this recipe.

  • Garlic - Substitute with Roasted garlic: Roasted garlic has a milder, slightly sweet flavor compared to raw garlic, which can add a different dimension to the soup.

  • Ham - Substitute with Chorizo sausage: Chorizo sausage can provide a similar smoky and savory flavor to the soup as ham.

  • Paprika - Substitute with Smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can add a deeper, smokier flavor to the soup, enhancing its overall taste.

  • Chicken broth - Substitute with Vegetable broth: Vegetable broth can be used as a substitute for chicken broth to make the soup vegetarian-friendly.

  • Cayenne pepper - Substitute with Smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can add a subtle heat and smokiness to the soup, similar to cayenne pepper.

  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley - Substitute with Cilantro: Cilantro can provide a fresh and vibrant flavor to the soup, complementing the other ingredients.

  • Eggs - Substitute with Silken tofu: Silken tofu can be used as a substitute for eggs to add a creamy texture to the soup, especially for those following a vegan diet.

Best Way to Present Sopa de Ajo

  1. Elevate the bread: Toast the French bread until crispy and lightly browned, then cut it into elegant shapes or cubes for a sophisticated presentation.
  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle the soup with finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.
  3. Perfectly poached eggs: Ensure the eggs are perfectly poached, with firm whites and runny yolks, adding a touch of elegance to the final presentation.
  4. Use high-quality olive oil: Drizzle a small amount of high-quality extra-virgin olive oil over the soup just before serving to enhance the flavors and add a luxurious touch.
  5. Incorporate artistic drizzling: Create an artistic drizzle of olive oil on the surface of the soup for a visually appealing presentation.
  6. Attention to detail: Pay attention to the placement of the poached eggs and bread in the bowl, ensuring an aesthetically pleasing arrangement.
  7. Choose the right serving vessel: Serve the soup in elegant, shallow bowls to showcase the beautiful colors and textures of the dish.
  8. Add a touch of heat: Sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper on top of the soup for a subtle, sophisticated kick of heat.
  9. Highlight the ham: Arrange the ham slices in an attractive manner on top of the soup to draw attention to this flavorful ingredient.
  10. Balance flavors: Ensure the seasoning is perfectly balanced, enhancing the overall taste and presentation of the soup.

Essential Tools for Making Spanish Garlic Soup

  • Oven: You will need an oven to bake the French bread for the soup.
  • Baking sheet: A baking sheet is used to place the French bread for baking in the oven.
  • Aluminum foil: This will be used to line the baking sheet to prevent the bread from sticking.
  • Heavy pot: A heavy pot is essential for cooking the soup and ensuring even heat distribution.
  • Spoon: A spoon will be used for stirring the soup and making depressions for the eggs.
  • Small bowl or cup: These are used to crack and hold the eggs before adding them to the soup.
  • Ladle: A ladle is necessary for serving the soup into bowls.

How To Store and Freeze Sopa de Ajo

  • Allow the Spanish garlic soup to cool completely before storing or freezing.
  • Transfer the cooled soup to an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag.
  • If using a container, leave about an inch of space at the top to allow for expansion during freezing.
  • Label the container or bag with the date and contents.
  • Store the soup in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • To freeze the soup, place the container or bag in the freezer and store for up to 2-3 months.
  • When ready to reheat, thaw the frozen soup in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Transfer the thawed soup to a pot and reheat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
  • If the soup appears too thick after reheating, add a little chicken broth or water to adjust the consistency.
  • Note: It's best to freeze the soup without the poached eggs, as they may become rubbery and unappetizing when frozen and reheated. Instead, prepare fresh eggs when reheating the soup.
  • Garnish the reheated soup with fresh parsley and serve with crusty bread for a delicious and comforting meal.

How To Reheat Leftover Spanish Garlic Soup

  • Reheat the soup in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired temperature. This method allows you to control the heat and ensure that the eggs and bread are heated through without overcooking.

  • If you prefer a quicker method, you can reheat individual portions of the soup in the microwave. Place the desired amount in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the soup is heated through. Be careful not to overheat, as this may cause the eggs to become rubbery.

  • For a crispy texture, you can reheat the soup in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the soup to an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking to allow the bread to crisp up on top.

  • If you have stored the bread and soup separately, you can reheat them individually. Reheat the soup on the stove or in the microwave, and toast the bread in the oven or toaster until crispy. Place the bread in serving bowls and pour the hot soup over it, then top with a freshly poached egg for a restaurant-style presentation.

  • To maintain the best texture and flavor, avoid reheating the soup multiple times. Reheat only the portion you plan to consume and store any remaining soup in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Random Fact About Spanish Garlic Soup

The Spanish garlic soup, also known as sopa de ajo, is a traditional dish originating from the Castilla region of Spain. It is a popular comfort food, especially during the colder months. The soup is often enjoyed as a hearty and warming meal, and it is believed to have originated as a peasant dish due to its simple and readily available ingredients. The use of garlic in the soup not only adds flavor but also provides potential health benefits, as garlic is known for its medicinal properties. Additionally, the addition of eggs to the soup adds a rich and creamy texture, making it a satisfying and nourishing dish.

Is Making Sopa de Ajo at Home Cost-Effective?

This Spanish garlic soup (sopa de ajo) recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The main ingredients, such as bread, garlic, and eggs, are affordable and commonly found in most kitchens. The addition of ham may slightly increase the cost, but it's optional. The total cost for a household of 4 people would be approximately $15-20. The flavorful outcome and nutritional value make it a worthwhile investment. I would rate this recipe a solid 8 out of 10 for its affordability and delicious taste.

Is Spanish Garlic Soup Healthy or Unhealthy?

The Spanish garlic soup (sopa de ajo) recipe has both healthy and unhealthy aspects. On the positive side, it includes nutritious ingredients like garlic, which has anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, and parsley, which is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. The use of chicken broth provides a good source of protein and minerals. However, the recipe also contains some less healthy components, such as French bread, which is typically made from refined flour and can be high in calories and carbohydrates. The ham and eggs add additional saturated fat and cholesterol to the dish.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Swap the French bread for whole-grain bread or croutons to increase the fiber content and reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates
  • Use a leaner cut of ham or replace it with a plant-based protein source, such as chickpeas or white beans, to decrease the saturated fat content
  • Reduce the amount of olive oil used in the recipe or opt for a healthier cooking oil, such as avocado oil, which has a higher smoke point and is rich in monounsaturated fats
  • Include more vegetables in the soup, such as spinach, kale, or carrots, to boost the nutrient density and fiber content of the dish
  • Limit the number of eggs used or consider using egg whites only to reduce the cholesterol content

Editor's Thoughts on This Delightful Spanish Soup

This Spanish garlic soup recipe is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The use of French bread adds a wonderful crunch, while the garlic and paprika infuse the broth with a rich, aromatic taste. The addition of ham provides a savory depth, and the perfectly poached eggs on top add a luxurious touch. The soup is well-balanced and comforting, making it a perfect choice for a cozy evening meal. The recipe is well-structured and easy to follow, allowing home cooks to recreate this traditional Spanish dish with ease. Overall, it's a delicious and satisfying soup that is sure to impress.

Enhance Your Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo) Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Vegetables: Try serving the Spanish garlic soup with a side of roasted vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts. The caramelized flavors of the vegetables will complement the rich and savory soup perfectly.
Grilled Chicken Skewers: For a protein-packed side dish, consider serving grilled chicken skewers alongside the Spanish garlic soup. The smoky charred flavor of the chicken will add depth to the meal.
Fruit Salad: Balance out the hearty flavors of the Spanish garlic soup with a refreshing fruit salad. The combination of sweet and tangy fruits will provide a delightful contrast to the savory soup.
Churros: End the meal on a sweet note by serving churros as a side dish. The crispy fried dough paired with a dusting of cinnamon sugar will provide a satisfying and indulgent dessert option.

Other Delicious Spanish Soups Similar to Sopa de Ajo

Spanish Potato Tortilla: This classic Spanish dish is made with potatoes, onions, and eggs, creating a delicious and hearty meal that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Paella Valenciana: This traditional Spanish rice dish is packed with a variety of seafood, chicken, and vegetables, all cooked in a flavorful saffron-infused broth, creating a colorful and aromatic one-pan meal.
Churros with Chocolate Sauce: Indulge in these crispy and sugary Spanish pastries, served with a rich and velvety chocolate sauce for dipping, making for a delightful dessert or sweet snack.

Perfect Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Sopa de Ajo

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: For a delicious and elegant appetizer, try creating stuffed mushrooms filled with a savory mixture of cheese, herbs, and breadcrumbs. These bite-sized treats are sure to impress your guests and leave them wanting more.
Bruschetta: Serve up a classic Italian appetizer with bruschetta topped with a flavorful combination of tomatoes, garlic, basil, and balsamic glaze. The crispy bread paired with the fresh, vibrant flavors makes for a perfect start to any meal.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth and creamy texture will melt in your mouth, leaving you craving for more.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a homemade apple crisp, with a crispy oat topping and tender, cinnamon-spiced apples. Top it off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweetness and warmth.

Why trust this Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo) Recipe:

This recipe for Spanish garlic soup (sopa de ajo) is a traditional and authentic dish that captures the essence of Spanish cuisine. The combination of garlic, ham, and paprika creates a rich and robust flavor profile. The use of chicken broth adds depth and warmth to the soup, while the addition of eggs provides a satisfying and hearty element. The inclusion of fresh parsley enhances the overall freshness of the dish. Trust in the time-honored ingredients and cooking techniques to deliver a truly delightful and comforting soup experience.

Want to share your experience making Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo) or discuss variations on this classic recipe? Join the conversation in the Recipe Sharing forum section!
FAQ:
What type of bread can I use for the Spanish garlic soup?
You can use any type of crusty bread for the Spanish garlic soup. French bread, baguette, or any rustic bread would work well for this recipe.
Can I substitute the ham with any other ingredient?
Yes, you can substitute the ham with chorizo, bacon, or even skip it for a vegetarian version of the soup. The soup will still be flavorful and delicious.
Can I make this soup ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the soup ahead of time and reheat it when you're ready to serve. However, I recommend adding the eggs right before serving to ensure they are cooked to your liking.
How can I adjust the spiciness of the soup?
You can adjust the spiciness of the soup by increasing or decreasing the amount of cayenne pepper used. Start with a small amount, taste, and adjust according to your preference.
Can I use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth?
Yes, you can use vegetable broth as a substitute for chicken broth if you prefer a vegetarian version of the soup. It will still provide a rich and flavorful base for the dish.

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