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Monday, October 21, 2013

Spanish Garlic Soup

For day 21 of Soup Month 2013, we made a rustic Spanish-style Garlic Soup.  This is a nearly clear broth soup that gets a majority of its flavor from smoked paprika, lots of garlic, and a perfectly poached egg on top.  And for such a simple soup, the flavor is extraordinary.

Believe it or not, there is a huge difference between "paprika" and "smoked paprika".  Regular paprika is very mild and is usually a blend of domestic or imported ingredients, and the taste is not really hot or sweet.  This generic paprika is great for garnishing, such as sprinkling over deviled eggs or on top of salads, but it doesn't add a lot of flavor, but mostly color.

Smoked paprika is from Hungary, where they consider paprika a national treasure, and they take this product quite seriously.  There are actually ten different varieties of smoked paprika ranging from delicate and mild, to medium and semi-sweet, to a more pungent flavor with more heat.  The color can also range from brownish to light red to bright red and even orange.  Lots of different choices.

The smoked paprika sold in the U.S., such as the one used in this recipe from Spice Islands, is a blend of chilies that are smoked over wood fires, and is perfect for adding a smoky, earthy flavor to paella, or added to dry rub mixes for beef, chicken or even lamb.  The flavor is so unique, you'll find yourself using it in more and more dishes to add just that little something extra. 

This recipe is super easy to make, uses only a few common ingredients, and it makes a perfect side dish when you don't want anything too heavy with your meal.  It is a little tricky dropping the eggs into the broth, but if you carefully slide the eggs into the soup one at a time, keeping them about an inch apart, it is easy to scoop them up and transfer to the bowls.  Enjoy!!

2 TB  Olive Oil
2 TB  Minced Garlic
2 tsp  Fresh Rosemary, finely minced
5 cups  Progresso Tuscany Broth (or regular chicken broth)
3/4 tsp  Genuine Smoked Paprika (not plain paprika)
3/4 tsp  Dried Oregano
2 tsp  Sea Salt (or more to taste)
5 large  Eggs
Large Croutons or Thick Toasted Bread Squares

In a medium soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic, rosemary and 1 teaspoon salt.  Sautee for 2 minutes or until the garlic begins to brown.

Add the stock, paprika, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt.  Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium-high and carefully crack the eggs onto the top of the simmering soup.  Simmer for about 4 minutes for a soft yolk, or add 2 minutes extra if you prefer the yolks to be set.

Place several croutons or toasted bread squares into the bottom of each soup bowl.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer a poached egg to each bowl, then ladle the soup over the eggs.

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