Basque-Style Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo)
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.
Yield: serves 4-6
- 1 (3 by 10-inch) baguette
- 6 dried choricero or new mexico chiles, seeded
- <sup>2</sup>⁄<sub>3</sub> cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> qt. chicken stock
- Heat oven to 250°. Wrap baguette in foil and bake until somewhat dried out, about 2 1⁄2 hours. Let cool. Cut the baguette into 1-inch pieces and transfer, with any crumbs, to a bowl.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add chiles, cover, and cook at a rapid simmer until soft, 40–45 minutes; drain. Scrape pulp from chiles and discard skins; set aside.
- Heat olive oil in pot over medium heat. Add garlic; cook until golden, 2–3 minutes. Add bread, with its crumbs, and cook until toasted, 6–7 minutes. Add chicken stock and reserved chile 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.
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