Back in history our ancestors domesticated fire and invented waterproof containers. These two major advances where the key to the appearence of the first soups and broths; a liquid dish made by boiling vegetables, meat or fish. The word soup stems from the latin word ”suppa” which ment, ”bread soaked in broth”;  Bread Soup, the mother of all soups, simple and peasant.

Spartan soldiers prepared a black soup, a staple soup made of boiled blood, salt and vinegar. In decadent times during the Roman empire, soup is transformed into a luxury good, full of fantasy, combining rose petals and fowel brains. In present times, soups are classified in three main groups, Clear Soups  (consommé and stocks), Thick Soups, thickned either with starch, cream or a roux) and Stews (including meat, fish and legume.

Bouillabaisse,Corn Chowder, Miso soup, Minestrone, Gazpacho, Vichysoisse, Gulash, Ajiaco, soup transcends all boundaries.

Today’s recipe is a traditional Catalan recipe, ”Sopa de Farigola”. Simple, nourishing and comforting. Originaly elaborated with water, thyme, sourdough bread and a poached egg. Thyme has powerful antimicrobial properties, and is used as natural remedy to treat coughs and lung diseases. For this reasons, thyme soup is the perfect dish for a cold winter day.

 

Ingredients (serves 4)

1,5 l light chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegan option)

2 large onions

thyme springs

1 slice of sourgough bread

4 eggs room temperature

75g cured cheese (manchego, parmesan)

extra virgin olive oil

 

Grate the cheese with a very fine grater (microplane) on a sheet of parchment paper. Spread widely rather than making bundles to ensure a fine cracker and bake until golden brown. Let cool down to crack in irregular shape, or cut whilst still hot with the help of a cookie cutter.

Cut the onion into julienne strips, and poach in a pot with a pinch of salt. These will release water, when all the water evaporates add three tablesoons of extra virgin olive oil and poach until soft and translucent.  Pour in the light broth and simmer low heat all together along with the thyme springs for about 5/10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the slice of sourdough without any crust. Infuse for extra 10 minutes. Remove thyme springs and blend all until very smoth. Strainig is optional, and depends on your prefferences. Personally in Cook and Taste, we tend to strain it, to ensure a much finer result. Pour back in a pot on a medium heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, half-fill a wide pan with water and bring it to a boil. To poach an egg succesfully,  make sure you eggs are fresh and at room temperature. Crack an egg into a cup and gently pour it in boiling water, bring it to a light simmer over a medium heat. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, deppending on how firm you like your eggs. Remove from water very gently and dry with the help of paper towel any remaining water.

 

Serve the hot soup in a deep plate with the poached egg and cover with the cheese cracker.

Cuddle up on the sofa with a blanket and feel better!