Sopa de Almendras or Almond soup is a hearty Christmas soup in Spain. The filling soup is hearty and warm for wintery nights and is the first course in a traditional Christmas meal there.There are several regional versions for this soup some using potatoes instead of bread and some frying parsley along with the ingredients.I adapted a simple version from here where the soup is slightly spicy with the addition of cumin.
Almonds: 1/2 cup blanched
Bread : 2-3 slices cubed
Garlic: 1-2 cloves chopped
Saffron: 1/4 tsp
Veg Broth/Stock: 1 cup +
Parsley: for garnish
For blanching the almonds,I poured hot boiling water over almonds,let them sit for a minute and then drained them and poured cold water onto them and them drained them again and peeled them.
Heat olive oil in a pan,add garlic chopped and the blanched almonds.Saute till they turn brown.Remove the almonds and garlic and add to the blender.In the same oil add cubed bread and stir fry till they turn brown or golden brown.Switch off the stove and add in saffron.Mix well and then add three -fourth of the bread mix to the already roasted almonds in the blender.Alternately you can add in almonds and bread cubes and saffron and garlic together and saute.I did separately.Add in peppercorns,vinegar and cumin to the blender and blend in adding little of the broth to a fine paste.I went for a little coarse paste so that few almonds remained as such or broken.
Heat the rest of the vegetable stock and add the almond paste and salt to this.Bring to a boil,reduce to a simmer and cook for around 10-15 minutes till the soup thickens to a required consistency.If the soup is too thick add more stock/water.
Serve hot garnished with chopped parsley and remaining bread croutons and optionally extra blanched almonds and salt and pepper.
Almonds are rich in monosaturated fatty acids and Vitamin E and thus help maintain healthy cholestrol levels and reduces heart risk.1 ounce of almonds a day can fulfill vitamin E requirement.They are rich in phosphorus and calcium and help maintain bone health and preven osteoporosis.The copper in almonds makes them useful in the production of blood haemoglobin and thus making them an easy homeremedy for anaemia.
On a lighter note,the 'A' in 'Almond' makes the soup perfectly eligible for the HOTM:A where the theme is hearty healthy dishes with main ingredients starting with the letter 'A' .Another hearty Almond soup tried and tasted is Indian Shahi Badam Shorba .