Basque-Style Garlic Soup
Garlic soup is made all over Spain, but the Basque version is unique in that it uses a special dried bread called zopako, which is unavailable in the U.S. We found that an oven-dried baguette makes a good substitute. Heat oven to 250°. Wrap a 3" × 10" baguette in foil and bake until somewhat dried out, about 2 1⁄2 hours. Let cool. Cut the baguette into 1" pieces and transfer, with any crumbs, to a bowl. Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add 6 seeded dried choricero peppers or new mexico chiles, cover, and cook at a rapid simmer until soft, 40–45 minutes; drain. Scrape pulp from peppers and discard skins; set aside. Heat 2⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil in pot over medium heat. Add 8 chopped cloves garlic; cook until golden, 2–3 minutes. Add bread, with its crumbs, and cook until toasted, 6–7 minutes. Add 2 1⁄2 quarts chicken stock and reserved pepper pulp and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until bread has separated into small pieces and the soup has thickened, about 2 hours. Season with salt to taste. Serves 4–6.