Table 36 Cigars Chef's Table - Sopa de AjoWe have spent some time pairing foods with cigars, and you certainly could with this dish as well, but I wanted to throw out a version of this classic Spanish recipe.  Mostly because it’s the best soup I’ve ever had.  If you have never tried a soup like this, you’ve got to give it a shot.  It’s also extremely simple to make (okay, poaching the eggs might be a little tricky, but if you take some care it should be fine).  I haven’t actually had the chance to do a pairing with this soup yet, but when I do, I’ll post a comment or two.  Better yet, give the pairing a try yourself and let us know how it went.

Sopa de Ajo

1 head garlic

1 quart chicken stock

2 Tblsp. Olive Oil

4 eggs

4 1 inch thick slices of day old baguette or italian bread

1/2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Roast the garlic by slicing the whole head in half, drizzling it with olive oil, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper, and wrapping in aluminum foil.  Roast in a 400° F oven for 30 minutes.  Let cool and remove garlic from head.

Heat the chicken stock in a medium pot.  Season with salt, pepper and paprika.  The type of paprika you choose will make a difference in the soup.  Experiment with sweet, smoked, hot, whatever you like.  Stir in roasted garlic.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Strain and place back on the stove.  Bring up to a simmer.

Lightly toast slices of bread in a skillet with a little olive oil on both sides.

Carefully poach eggs.  The simplest way to do this is to crack an egg into a small bowl and gently pour it into the soup.  Be careful that the soup is not at a full boil, just a simmer.  If you haven’t done this before you can just do them one at a time removing each after about 3 minutes.  Otherwise, the four eggs will easily fit in the pot at once.

To serve, place a slice of bread in the bottom of a soup bowl.  Top the bread with an egg and ladle 8 oz. of the broth over both.  Sprinkle with a little fresh parsley.

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