Sopa de Ajo; green beans – 13 June 2015

main150613I have wanted to make this soup for a long time, but it’s a lot of work and it’s not optimal to smell like garlic during the school season 😉 It’s a cold weather soup, and it’s June, but the weather is actually pretty cold now, so it worked ok. The soup is stock, garlic puree, and chorizo, served over a toasted and torn bread hunk, and with an egg poached in the soup served over the top. The recipe is from Moro, but this is my (very) slightly revised and annotated version.

[Making an attempt here to return to posting in real time. Soon I will get back to connecting drafts with photos and filling in the spring semester…]

Separate the garlic cloves from 4 or 5 large heads of garlic. I always chicken out after 4 – this is time-consuming – but I noted this time that getting the last bits of papery stuff off the cloves (leaving only the hard peel) is not really necessary. They can be pulled out of the oil during and after cooking.

prep150613-garlicstillinpeelsCook the cloves, still with hard peels on (ok if some come unpeeled) for 15-20 minutes or more, in 1/4 cup olive oil. Medium-low on my range works well, though I sometimes turned it down to Low. I removed smaller cloves before larger ones were soft. When cloves are soft and golden, remove with a slotted spoon. Scoop out any remaining garlic paper or other stuff in the oil. Remove the peels from the garlic, and puree the soft cloves.

lagniappe150613Add 1/4+ lb (100g) chorizo to the oil. I used Mexican b/c that was what the Bowl had in its meat department, though I might have been able to get soft Spanish sausages over at the deli. Cook until “crisp and caramelized.” Add 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves and cook a minute or less, then add the garlic puree, and 1/2 tsp Spanish smoked sweet paprika. Mix. Add 1 liter/quart chicken stock (in burnout mode, I used bouillon) and heat through. Taste for seasoning. I didn’t add anything.

Toast a thick slice of bread for each serving (we timed this to use the Acme Italian Batard late in its tenure, and the rather dry bread toasted up nicely on the grill, being moved with great frequency to avoid hot spots burning it), tear into a few pieces and place into serving bowls.  For each serving, carefully break an egg into the soup and allow setting150613it to poach for at least 2 minutes. I cooked for 2 minutes, turned them over, and cooked another 2, and that worked perfectly. Spoon soup liquid over the bread, top with the egg, and serve.

I also steamed (5 mins) some green beans we got at the Berkeley farmers’ market this morning, and then tossed them in butter and salted them. Good food.

wine150613We went to a Wine Mine tasting today and bought some wines not in the tasting, including two Riojas, of the many they had there. One was described by the wine guru as rather softer than most Riojas, so we thought that would not be good for fighting back against the hotness of the chorizo, and chose the other instead, called Ramirez de la Piscina ($14) a Crianza, 2010. I was not terribly impressed at first sip – perfectly good, just nothing to write home about – but, as D first noted, it was really happy with the soup, so perhaps it’s a keeper.

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