Jaleo, A Sopa De Ajo Spectacle in Vegas!

Just this last weekend, I had the opportunity to go out with three wonderful gals two evenings in a row in Las Vegas. The first night we dined in The Paris Hotel at Mon Ami Gabi and the second night we decided to walk on over to the Cosmopolitan Hotel and check out the options. And Jaleo was our choice for the evening – we all loved the fact of sharing Spanish Tapas!

When I first glanced at the menu, it was a no brainer to start with a soup. Jaleo had three wonderful soups: A Gazpacho, An Anjo Blanco and a Sopa Ajo. I have had the former two soups on other occasions, so I decided on trying a new soup. And Soupa Ajo (a black garlic soup with black garlic and egg) it was!!

The Verdict of Sopa Ajo?:

No need to go to a show in Vegas to get a spectacle! Wow, just go to Jaleo and order soup! When the waiter arrived at the table with my soup I was very impressed, this is how it was presented to me:

Then the waiter had a mini carafe in his other hand which was full of broth. He was going to pour it over the soup bowl canvass! This is it in action:

The soup had many flavourful depths to it. First the wonderful crisp crustini kept up quite well for a few bites in. The broth was so delicate yet very oozing with creamy delight. When I sliced into the very soft and delicate poached egg, it started to run in my soup and bring different spoonfuls of taste each time I lapped it up! The garlic broth was a licker candidate for sure.

I lapped the soup up in no time and could have lifted the bowl up to finish the last of my lovely liquid, but I resisted from embarrassing my gal friends and gracefully pushed it aside for the waiter to take away.

Soup Mistress Rating for Sopa De Ajo

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.25/5
Presentation: (4.75/5) 

Taste: (4.75/5) 

Arugula Soup with Poached Egg and Truffle Oil

Arugula Soup

Picture 1 of 12

The Completed Arugula Soup with Poached Egg and Truffle Oil

I love arugula and poached eggs, but I would have never thought of them together in a soup. When I saw this recipe in one of my cook books, it intrigued me. Hmmn, a poached egg with truffle oil is a nice touch indeed! I decided to give the recipe a whirl with few modifications.

The Verdict of Arugula Soup with Poached Egg and Truffle Oil? I found the original recipe a little bland, so the second time around I added garlic. Also, this is one soup that lends itself to a fair bit of pepper – it goes well with the potato/arugula base. I really love the idea of the egg, but there is no room for a poached egg on the hard side – a very soft and runny egg makes this soup very good indeed. I would even put two eggs in one large bowl of soup if that is all I was to have for my meal.

Arugula Soup with Poached Egg and Truffle Oil Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups leeks, chopped
  • 3 – 1/2 cup new potatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic gloves, finely chopped (additional adjustment the second time I attempted this soup)
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 5 oz arugula
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons goat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arugula Soup with Poached Egg and Truffle Oil Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy based saucepan.
  2. Saute leeks for about 5 minutes on medium heat, until soft and glistening.
  3. Add potatoes, garlic and saute for a further 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add vegetable stock, bring to a boil and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are really tender.
  5. Remove from heat and add the arugula, let it wilt for about 10 minutes.
  6. While arugula is wilting in soup, bring a deep skillet of water to a boil; add the vinegar, and then turn down to a gentle simmer. After soup is blended (step 8), crack the eggs in each corner and turn off the heat. Let sit for 3 minutes or until the eggs start to float up.
  7. Transfer the soup to a blender and pure until smooth (I usually count to 25 seconds).
  8. Return soup to pan, stir in yogurt, and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If soup is to thick at this stage, add more vegetable stock to your liking.
  9. Heat soup up, but do not boil.
  10. Divide the soup between 4 bowls, top each with a poached egg, and serve with fresh grinding of black pepper and drizzles of truffle oil.

The Original Recipe: Soups no-fuss recipes for Hearty Soups, author Tonia George (Hard cover book, page 50)

What I changed from original recipe:

  • Replaced butter with olive oil
  • Replaced chicken stock with low sodium vegetable stock
  • Replaced heavy cream with goat yogurt
  • Adjusted and converted ingredients to measurement in cups
  • Added garlic

Soup Mistress Rating for Arugula Soup with Poached Egg and Truffle Oil:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4.5/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5) 
Taste: (3.5/5) 

Chicken Avgolemono – A Greek Goddess Soup Indeed

Chicken Avgolemono Soup

Picture 1 of 14

Chicken Avgolemono Soup

I had in the back of my mind for quite sometime to make Greek Egg-lemon Soup (also known as Avgolemono = a soup made with lemon juice and egg mixture). It has been about 2 years since I have had this soup when visiting my girlfriend Karen in Long Beach, California. We went to Cafe Ambrosia and they served up a really tasty bowl of the Avgolemono soup (I think it was a soup of the day back then because I don’t see it on their menu online).

Last night, I decided to make the soup for my friend Brain Pape, a mortgage broker, who was coming over to help with my remortgage and get some paperwork signed. He’s quite a cook himself and makes a killer Vichyssoise, so I was hoping that this soup turned out yummy for him.

The Verdict? I think this soup is a Greek Goddess Soup indeed. I will make this soup again in a heartbeat. The homemade chicken broth with the tangy lemon-egg was so very velvety smooth.  I actually woke up in the middle of night to have a little bowl of this soup as a snack. This was out of character for me – I’m not really one for evening snacks – but I was craving it!

I decided to purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and take the meat off the breast and then use the carcass for the stock. I have used raw whole chicken in the past with all meat on to do the broth but the breast meat chicken gets to rubbery to use in the soup. I’d rather shred the roasted chicken and keep to the side to put into the soup.

Chicken Stock Ingredients:

  • whole roasted chicken carcass
  • 8-9 cups water
  • 2 carrots, chopped in large pieces
  • 1 onion, cut in quarter
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped in large pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • salt

Chicken Avgolemono Soup Ingredients:

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  • 14oz cooked chicken (white meat), shredded
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2-4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • pepper

Chicken Stock Instructions:

  1. Cut off white breast meat from the roasted chicken (excluding skin – keep it for stock) , shred and put aside in fridge to use for soup later on.
  2. Bring chicken carcass (with skin and dark meat left on), onion, carrot, celery, garlic and salt to a boil, simmer over low heat for at least 1 hour (or 1.5 hours) with lid partially on.
  3. Strain stock.

Chicken Avgolemono Soup Instructions:

  1. Heat the chicken stock in a large saucepan and add the rice.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  3. Add the chicken and warm through for 2 -3 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, whisk the eggs with the lemon juice in a small bowl. Add two ladles of the warm stock (slowly one at a time) and whisk until thinned.
  5. Remove the soup form the heat and gradually pour in the egg mixture, whisking to amalgamate it. It should thicken in the residual heat, but if you need to, place it over low heat for just 3-4 minutes, stirring the bottom of the pan to thicken. Do not return to high heat once the egg has been added, or it will boil and scramble.
  6. Add in the lemon zest and give it a final stir.
  7. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with parsley, extra lemon zest, and pepper. Serve immediately.

Original recipe is from this book: Soups: No-fuss Recipes for Hearty Soups by Tonia George

What I changed from original recipe:

  • omitted fried croutons – I don’t think this soup needs it.
  • made my own chicken stock.
  • added lemon zest – I love lemon zest!

Soup Mistress Rating for Chicken Avgolemono Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (4/5)
Presentation: (4.5/5) 
Taste: (5/5)