Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Spanish Garlic Soup with Saffron and Cumin

It's gray and blustery outside.  It's the day after Thanksgiving.  Maybe it's a Sunday night.  Whatever.  You just don't feel like cooking!  But you feel better if you have a real meal instead of a snack, however healthy the snack might be. 

Dragging yourself to the fridge, you open it.  Maybe there's some leftover turkey or other meat in there.  You keep local eggs on hand, right?   If you're a foodie, you'll have saffron and smoked paprika on hand, too, and broth in your pantry or freezer.  If not, go stock up ... you know  you're going to have one of these moments this winter!

Traditionally, this soup is topped with a hefty number of white-bread croutons.  Trust me, diced avocado is way  more satisfying.

Sopa española del ajo con azafrán y comino

2 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 small onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced (reserve for egg frying)

1 teaspoon ground cumin seed

2 cups diced cooked meat, optional (turkey, chicken, pork, beef)
1 quart homemade chicken or turkey broth
1 teaspoon saffron threads*
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon butter or ghee
2-4 eggs (depending on number of servings you are making)
1 avocado, diced

In medium-sized pot, heat butter or ghee over medium heat.  Add onion and chopped garlic.  Cook, stirring now and then, for about 5 minutes or until onion begins to soften.

Sprinkle cumin over onion mixture and cook briefly, stirring to slightly toast it.  Mmmmm!

Add meat, broth, saffron, paprika and crushed red pepper.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes or so. 

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon ghee or butter in small skillet.  Add the minced garlic, then immediately fry the two eggs in the butter/garlic mixture, turning eggs once.

Taste soup; add salt and pepper to taste. 

Ladle soup into bowls.  Top each bowl with a fried egg and some diced avocado.

Makes enough soup for four small or two large servings.

*Reasonably priced saffron is available at the European Market on Huntington Street (across from GESA) on Huntington Street in Kennewick.  They keep it behind the counter, so you have to ask for it.


  1. This looks like a scrummy soup! I love the addition of the eggs. I'm hosting a weekly blog carnival specifically for soups, stocks and chowders, every Sunday! I would love it if you would come over and post this recipe. Here's a link with more information:

    I hope to see you there!

  2. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this recipe with Sunday Night Soup Night! I'll be hosting weekly through fall and winter, so I'd love to see you again with your next soup/stock/chowder recipe.

  3. If you have no access to saffron, would you recommend another spice/herb to replace this with?

  4. Nope. Turmeric will give you the yellow color, but not the flavor.