Vegetable Soup with Croutons and Mint-Sopa de menestra con migas y yerbabuena

The word "migas" is usually translated as croutons since there is no other equivalent for this Spanish word. However, many people believe that this translation does not do justice to the real Spanish "migas" – cubes of bread which are moistened and seasoned and then fried in hot olive oil, together with a little diced cured mountain ham. "Migas" have been an essential part of Spanish cuisine since time immemorial.

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For the soup

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 onions
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 leek
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 parsnip
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • bay leaf
  • 1 level tsp paprika
  • seasoning to taste
  • mint

For the migas

  • 4 thick slices day-old country bread (pan de pueblo)- crust removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp diced serrano, or other cured ham
  • 1 level tsp paprika
  • seasoning to taste
  • pinch cumin
  • cup olive oil
  • water


Instructions for the preparation of the "migas"

First prepare the migas or fried bread by cutting the bread into small chunks, then sprinkle with 1 tbsp of water and a good pinch of salt, wrap in a damp cloth and leave overnight. (If time does not allow for this, simply sprinkle the bread with salt and two tbsp of water, cover and set aside for half an hour).

Heat the oil in a pan and add the two cloves of garlic, sauté until golden brown, then remove the garlic and discard.

Add the bread to the oil left in the pan together with the paprika, cumin and seasoning, mix well and fry over a low heat until the bread is crisp (about 15 minutes).

Add the diced cured ham and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes or so.

Instructions for the preparation of the vegetable soup

Peel the vegetables and cut into pieces.

Put the two tablespoons of oil into a large saucepan and mix in all the vegetables except the potatoes and tomatoes.

Allow to cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the water, bay leaf, seasoning and paprika and simmer for an additional 20 minutes, then add the potatoes and tomatoes and continue cooking for a further 20 minutes.

Serve in individual soup bowls and garnish with migas and one or two mint leaves.

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