I love this soup, because I am in love with both peasant food and offensive flavors.
There are couple ways you can go with this soup. Straight up traditional peasant recipes are just some garlic cloves cooked in olive oil, with water, tons of paprika, and stale bread. This lovely sounding recipe from New Mediterranean uses lots more garlic, and fancies it up a little with sherry and saffron, and floated garlic toasts. I like the technique of mashing the garlic cloves into the broth. Either way, this is most often made with eggs, either stirred in egg-drop soup style or poached on top.
I went with the more peasanty one (although I want to try the fancy version). It’s vegetarian, and forgoes delicate saffron in favor of an obscene amount of paprika for the uncultured tongue, which rises up in clouds and makes the soup a lovely dark red. Also, as it’s eggless, it needed a little something to be heavy enough for a light meal, so I added some chickpeas. We peasants do what we want.
Castilian Garlic Soup
3 tbsp olive oil
2 heads garlic, peeled, huge cloves chopped in half
1 tbsp paprika
splash of sherry
6 cups vegetable broth
1 can (or two cups cooked) chickpeas
croutons: 1-2 pieces bread, cubed, tossed with a little olive oil, and sea salt, and toasted
nice spritz lemon juice – don’t skip!
Heat olive oil and garlic on medium/medium lowish heat. Cook very gently, stirring, until they are soft, about 10-15 minutes, being very careful not to brown.
Add paprika and stir for a minute, then add sherry, broth, and chickpeas. Bring to a simmer for several minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Spoon into a bowl, spritz with lemon juice, and sprinkle parsley and a few croutons.
I cooked rice in leftovers, which turned out delicious. Peasant food or not, there’s something decadent about eating whole cloves of (cooked) garlic.