Sopa Castellana (Castilian Soup)

Castilian SoupSopa Castellana is another great dish that makes use of stale bread.  It’s bursting with the flavours of Spain, from the warmth of the smoked paprika to the sweetness of the cured ham.  The poached egg gives it a protein boost and the soft creamy yoke is the perfect addition to this great supper dish.

I love this dish so much that I deliberately let my bread go stale so I have an excuse to enjoy it.  It’s made of very few ingredients, I always have them knocking around so it’s good to fall back on when hunger strikes and the fridge is almost empty.

There are  a few different variations to this recipe that I have come across but this is by far the best.  Not only is it quick and easy to make, it is intensely satisfying.  Comfort food at its best!

Serves 2-3 as a main or 4 as a starter.

Ingredients

4 oz (100g) Serrano Ham

4 oz (100g) Good Quality Stale Bread

3 Cloves of Garlic

1 tsp Sweet Smoked Paprika (Pimentón Dulce)

3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

20 fl. oz (1 litre) Water or Chicken Stock

3 to 6 eggs

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Salt

Directions

1.  Dice the ham into ¼” pieces, slice the garlic and break up the bread into smallish pieces.

2.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan on a medium to low heat.  Fry the garlic and ham for a couple of minutes and before the garlic starts to brown, add the stale bread.

3.  Fry for a further 3 minutes then add the paprika.  Stir everything together coating the bread in the paprika.

4.  Add the water or stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the bread softens and breaks up.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

5.  Crack the eggs into the soup, cover with a lid and poach until set (around 4 to 5 minutes).  Serve.

Tips

  • Use chicken or vegetable stock instead of water to give the soup more depth of flavour.  The better the quality of the stock the better the taste but a stock cube works just fine.
  • Be careful not to add too much salt as the ham can be quite salty.
  • Leave out the ham for a vegetarian alternative.
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