Chef John's Spanish Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo)


  • 6 cups cubed French bread
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced, or more to taste
  • 2 ounces ham, diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika, or to taste
  • 6 cups chicken broth, or more as needed
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4large eggs
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.


  • Step 2

    Spread French bread onto the prepared baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top; gently stir to coat bread.

  • Step 3

    Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Step 4

    Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Cook and stir garlic in hot oil until just golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add ham; cook and stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of paprika and cook for 1 minute more. Pour bread into pot and toss to coat with hot oil mixture.

  • Step 5

    Pour chicken broth into bread mixture; add cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and stir in parsley.

  • Step 6

    Crack each egg into a small bowl or cup. Make 4 depressions in the bread on top of the soup with a spoon. Slowly pour an egg into each depression. Cover the pot with a lid and cook until egg whites are firm and yolks are thick but not hard, 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and spoon an egg on top.

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