Spanish soups

Soup is a favorite starter for a Spanish meal.

There is an incredible variety of soups, creams, purees and the famous potajes which are thick, hearty soups with beans and pulses as a base. After trying an incredibly comforting Spanish bean or chickpea potaje, or potato soup, you would not think of them as modest fare any more.

The first known reference about beans and pulses in Spain can be found in an Arab agricultural compendium from the XII century. Three chickpea varieties, several of lentils and twelve of beans are mentioned. That is before Mediterranean beans were crossed with American frijoles generating dozens of new varieties.

Spanish soups range from warm and filling –think of the Castilian garlic soup or the Basque purrusalda- to the cool and crisp –think of Andalusian gazpacho, or I should say gazpachos, because there are almost as many versions as people in Spain.

Soups in Spain are very simple. Many soups are no more than good homemade stock -without a good stock base most gourmet dishes would be nothing- and a bunch of noodles or a little rice, or potatoes and one other vegetable just pureed. Even those bean soups which become a whole meal –nourishing, flavorful, and showing unexpected depths- by adding some meat, sausages, or seafood are prepared with barely half a dozen ingredients.

Spanish soup recipes

Warm soups

Nothing like a bowl of hot soup to fight cold weather and tone your appetite; warm and nourishing -as most vitamins and nutrients remain in the stock- prepares the way for the food served afterwards.

Spanish warm soup recipes

Galician white bean soup (caldo gallego)

Castilian garlic soup (sopa de ajo)

Cold soups

Cold soups and creams are top stars in the summer. Light and cool, flavorful, packed with vitamins. The right appetizer for a summer meal. Try these light, refreshing and delicious recipes. They are original and easy to prepare. No one likes to receive a cold shoulder, but they will love you for giving them the cold soup.

Spanish cold soup recipes

Almond gazpacho or white garlic (ajo blanco)

Classic gazpacho from Seville

Will they keep?

Home made stock can be frozen for 2 or 3 months without a problem. Cold creams and soups can keep for 2 in the fridge, some up to 3 days. Careful! They will spoil if left for too long in the hot summer weather. Once cold enough to put in the fridge, keep them there in tightly closed container.

Too hot or not enough time to chill the soup? Add some ice cubes to the soup. Not too many, the soup will turn to watery.

All you will need

Apart from very fresh, first quality ingredients, you will need a few cooking items:

Pans and pots - for shallow frying and simmering soups and creams which require some cooking or to hold the ones that won't make you get close to the stove.

Pressure cooker - if you are serious about bean soups, a pressure cooker will cut the cooking time by more than half.

Electric blender - to puree the vegetables raw or once cooked. Any standing blender or food processor will do, but we strongly recommend a hand blender -also called immersion or stick blenders- that can puree your favorite soup right in the pot.

Sieve, strainer, food mill - to get a smooth texture. The food mill can make the job of an electric blender for cooked vegetables. For raw ones, use the electric blender first and then the sieve or food mill to get rid of skin bits and seeds.

Colander - to wash vegetables. All vegetables should be washed before cooking. Washing is particularly important when vegetables will be eaten raw, even pureed.