I know it's freezing cold on the regular these days back home, but it was in the mid 80s here for the past month, and all of a sudden the past week has dropped down into the low 70s and into the 60s at night. I know you guys will have no sympathy, but for me, that is freezing!!
All of this rapidly changing weather plus the onset of allergy season here has me super congested. I've got a runny nose that just won't stop. So, with the nights being chilly and me battling all this congestion, I've been in the mood for soup. After having Cuban food with my friend the other night, I was craving some garlicky Cuban goodness, but it had to be something quick. I Googled and Googled some more until I decided on Cuban garlic soup (sopa de ajo).
Sopa de ajo was inherited from the Spanish and Cubans have adapted it to their taste. This is like their version of chicken soup; Cubans swear a good sopa de ajo can cure the worst of head colds. After trying my first bowl tonight, I have to say, it's definitely a better cure-all than chicken soup. Even the smell of this soup cooking makes you start feeling better. I must say, a little garlic seems to take care of way more than just vampires. This warm, comforting soup has a rich, garlicky flavor and a velvety texture to which garlicky toasted bread croutons are added for a deliciously crunchy variation of texture. Any garlic lover is sure to enjoy this incredibly easy and flavorful dish.
The trick is to be sure to temper the beaten eggs just before the soup reaches a boil, whisking rapidly and adding the broth in a slow, steady stream. If your eggs curdle, it likely isn't ruined. Just strain the egg; the flavor is likely fine
Also, be sure to strain out the garlic and onion before serving .
Add the croutons only as you are serving. Do not add to the main pot if you plan to have leftovers.
The following recipe was adapted from : http://www.ehow.com/how_5710025_make-cuban-garlic-soup.html (the soup looks nothing like the photo--it's yellow and velvety)
http://cocinacubana.cibercuba.com/2008/11/01/179/sopa_de_ajo (pimenton dulce - paprika)
Sopa de Ajo Cubano
16 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small onion, minced
2 quarts of chicken stock (2 cartons)
8 slices of Cuban bread (or French as a substitute, but do NOT use white sandwich), cubed
1 tsp paprika (optional) --this is closer to the Spanish version, but most Cubans don't use it
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of olive oil for sauteeing (yes, you do need it all. You will be splitting it up into three fryings)
Over medium low heat, sautee the minced garlic for a few minutes in the olive oil, until softened.
Once softened, strain the oil and set the garlic aside (you will use it toward the end).
Coat the bottom of the pan with the garlic oil and turn the heat up to medium to medium high. You do not need to pour it all in, just coat the bottom of the pan (maybe 2 tsp - 1TB)
Fry the cubed bread until crispy (does not need to be brown).
Remove the bread from the oil and set aside for later use.
Add the rest of the oil, turn the heat to medium, and sautee the onion until translucent
Once the onions are translucent, add in the chicken broth, add in the garlic, and add the paprika, if using.
Serve the soup with the garlic bread croutons you fried previously and one raw egg per person over the toast, which you allow to cook in the hot soup bowl. Enjoy!
Some people do the bread in full slices
Some people poach the egg in the soup per person by opening a raw egg onto the top of the soup while it boils and letting the egg cook 2-3 min.
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