Traditionally a peasant dish, sopa de ajo originated in the Castilla-Leon region of Spain to help combat the cold winter. This soup is an excellent example of how a few simple ingredients can make the most satisfying meal.
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra, to serve
- 5 cloves garlic, finely slices
- 3 tsp sweet paprika, plus extra, to serve
- 100 g thickly sliced jamon, prosciutto or pancetta, cut into ½ cm cubes
- 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
- 200 g (6 slices) day-old vienna or sourdough bread, crusts removed, cut into ½ cm cubes
- 1 ½ litres hot chicken stock
- 4 eggs
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Preheat the oven to 170˚C.
Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and garlic and cook for 3 minutes until aromatic. Add the paprika and jamon and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes until the fat starts to turn translucent. Add the tomatoes and the bread and cook for 5 minutes until the bread absorbs the tomato juice. Add ⅓ of the stock and cook for 6–7 minutes, stirring regularly, until the stock is absorbed. Repeat with the remaining stock in two more batches. After adding the final one-third of the stock, reduce the heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes until the soup thickens. Season to taste.
Divide the soup among 4 shallow, heat-proof bowls. Crack an egg into the centre of each bowl and place in the oven for 13–15 minutes until the white is just set but the yolk is still runny.
Serve immediately sprinkled with extra paprika and drizzled with olive oil.
Photography by Alan Benson