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Garlic Soup With Poached Egg

Spaniards use garlic liberally in their cooking; it is prized for its fine flavour, of course, but also seen as good for the digestion and a cure for all ills. Traditional garlic soup is made with just bread, oil, garlic and water - healthy, simple food still loved all over Spain

ingredients

serves 4
4 slices of bread from a long loaf
6 garlic cloves, lightly crushed but left whole
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika (pimenton dulce), plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon hot paprika (pimenton picante)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1.25 litres clear chicken stock or half stock, half water
4 - 8 very fresh eggs
sea salt
4 individual ovenproof soup plates or bowls a baking sheet

method

1. Rub the slices of bread with a garlic clove, brush with half the oil, then toast under a preheated moderate grill until golden.

2. Put into the ovenproof soup plates and set them on the baking sheet.

3. Heat the rest of the oil in a shallow saucepan, add the garlic and fry until golden. Stir in both kinds of paprika and the cumin, then immediately add the stock and season with salt. Simmer for a few minutes, then pour over the bread.

4. Break 1-2 eggs into the liquid in each plate and transfer to a preheated oven at 200°C (400°F) Gas 6 until the egg white has set but the yolk is still runny. Alternatively, poach the eggs separately and put on top of the toast, as shown here.

5. Serve immediately, sprinkled with a little paprika.

Variations
A version of this soup from Castile is made in a cazuela. The eggs are lightly beaten, then poured over the top. The cazuela is put under the grill and the eggs form a golden surface on the soup.

In Madrid, they like to serve it with whole eggs broken in, then mixed to cook in the hot broth.

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