Sopa Castellana

Bread and Garlic Soup with Saffron

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Media Ración


Appears in


By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2007

  • About

If you’re seriously into the good life then there are times in your life when you’re going to come home late and need a snack — if you know what I mean. And if you’re seriously into food then you’re also going to have chicken stock in the freezer and the rest of the ingredients needed to make this restorative soup. This is the traditional post tapeo pick-me-up that can be enjoyed any time of the day.

Originally from Castile–La Mancha, it relies on locally grown saffron to give it its golden colour and earthy foundation. The garlic is fried until it imparts a sweet nutty taste and the bread gives the soup its starchy substance. It’s so simple it can be made in about 10 minutes.


  • 4 thick slices 2-day-old pasta dura or other firm crusty bread
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced into thin slivers
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups) chicken stock
  • Spanish sweet paprika, to sprinkle


Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/Gas 2). Dry the bread on a baking tray in the oven for 5–10 minutes. The bread should be firm but not coloured — it needs to be dried so it will absorb the flavours of the soup.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and fry the garlic for 30–60 seconds, or until just golden (any darker and it will become bitter). As the garlic starts to sizzle add the saffron to release its aroma. As soon as the garlic is golden, stop the cooking process by slowly and carefully adding the chicken stock. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 2 minutes.

Break the bread into golf ball-sized pieces, add to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Allow the bread to swell while simmering for a further minute. Season with salt, if necessary. Serve the soup in bowls with a sprinkle of paprika.