While it's not much to look at, this is a fantastically warming, simple soup that makes for a great meal when you're short on time or ingredients. Popular in the Castilla region of Spain, Sopa de Ajo literally means "garlic soup". It's made with lots of garlic, jamón serrano, smoked paprika, large pieces of stale crusty bread, and of course an egg (huevo).
Since I don't have jamón serrano sitting around in my kitchen on a regular basis, I used some homemade chicken stock instead of water but it was no less satisfying. The soup has the deep smoky flavor of the caramelized garlic and smoked paprika (pimenton) while the crusty bread absorbs these flavors and crisps on the top. The yolk from the partially cooked egg gets broken into the soup which adds some creamy body and rounds the dish out.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix the olive oil, garlic and pepper in a bowl then toss the bread cubes in it. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet or piece of foil and bake until they're nice and crisp.
- In medium saucpan, add the oil and fry the garlic slices until they are a rich brown color (but not burnt). Add the cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, and the chicken stock then bring to a simmer. Taste for salt and add as necessary, but keep in mind this will reduce a bit in the oven, so you don't want it to be too salty.
- Get 2 oven safe bowls ready by adding 6 bread cubes to each one in a ring, leaving room in the center for the egg. Pour enough soup into each bowl to cover most of the bread, then gently break an egg into the center of each bowl. Pour a touch more soup ontop of each egg then put the bowls in the oven.
- The soup is ready when the bread is crusty on top and the white part of the egg is set (but the yolk is still runny). Carefully remove from the oven, set the bowls on plates and serve.