Garlic Soup: Variations on an Easter classic

It has always been said that hunger sharpens ingenuity: in the case of gastronomy, at least, we have shown that it is true. The huge number of recipes that emerged in times of scarcity has left us a legacy worthy of study. The kitchen of use is a constant in our culture of cooking: everything is useful; bones, stale bread, dried vegetables, tubers, canned meats and, of course, their fat. The juggling that many women had to do – and do – to feed their families laid the foundation for an entire culinary tradition of the wooden spoon. Examples like the garlic soup or the Castilian soup not only tried to fill the stomach, but also to fight the cold: cooking has always been a remedy to alleviate the difficulties caused by scarcity.

The garlic soup or the Castilian soup seem to originate in Castile. However, it has regional varieties throughout Spain, which implies that its origin is a little more confusing. Traditionally it was based on a broth prepared with focaccia, garlic and water enriched with ham or bones, this being the usual version, to which, in addition, paprika and egg are usually added. Throughout the Iberian Peninsula we find differences in the preparation of the recipe: in Soria, for example, it is common to add mushrooms to the soup; In some areas of Castile it is customary to finish the soup in the oven, cooking it until all the water has evaporated and a crust has formed. In La Rioja, tomatoes and peppers are added to the broth and, in the Basque Country, it is common to add fish. In Andalusia, cauliflower is added to the cooking water and paprika is omitted, in addition to making it thicken longer. Portugal also has its own variety, in which not even paprika is added and is accompanied by coriander; Each region adapted this dish to the products it had available in order not to waste food.

Despite the regional variations, within each of those explained there are even more variations. Pointing towards my homeland, the version that is prepared in Malaga tends to be light and with abundant broth, while in my city, Coín, it cooks until a wooden spoon manages to get stuck without falling. It is also accompanied by typical local products such as oranges, olives match and radishes. That said, anyone wanting to make the traditional recipe will just have to look at the amounts of garlic, broth, and bread, but since we’ve explored so many varieties of garlic soup, I’ve put together one that combines what I have like from each region, focusing on mainly on Coín and Málaga.


Don’t create a new strain by accident


For 2 people

  • 9 cloves of garlic
  • 80 g of stale bread
  • 800 ml of meat, chicken, vegetable broth or water
  • 2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
  • Half a teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 orange
  • Half a fresh onion
  • 8 radishes
  • 50 g of olives match
  • cilantro to taste
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil


  1. Cut the bread into small pieces (without knife) keeping the crust.

  2. Chop six previously crushed cloves of garlic and keep three whole.

  3. Heat the oil in a large, deep pan and sauté the nine garlic cloves until they begin to brown (over medium heat). Add the paprika, cumin and bay leaf and mix for a few seconds.

  4. Add the bread and mix so that they are well soaked in oil and spices. Toast for a minute and add the broth or water. Cook for 10 minutes over medium-high heat.

  5. Meanwhile, cut the orange, radishes and onion. Prepare the olives and coriander leaves.

  6. Serve the soup very hot with the rest of the ingredients aside.

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