Acorda Alentejana (Portuguese Bread Soup)
- Ready In:
- 1 lb sturdy rustic-style bread, stale if possible and torn into 1 to 2 nch chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups water
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- black pepper, to taste
- If the bread isn't already stale, spread the chunks on a baking sheet and dry out in a 250 degree F oven for about an hour.
- Process the garlic, cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a paste in a food processor (or use a mortar and pestle if you feel like a workout). Spoon into the bottom of a large, heatproof serving bowl or soup tureen.
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Poach the eggs in it, one at a time, removing to a plate when the whites have set but the yolks are still runny.
- Pour the still-boiling water (don't worry about any egg bits in it) over the garlic-cilantro paste in the bowl, stir to combine, and add the oil and more salt to taste.
- Add the bread and let soak for 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary, or more water if it seems too thick; there should be broth to slurp.
- Top the soup with the poached eggs and serve immediately.
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Acordas are a type of Portuguese traditional soup which are designed to make use of leftovers of the country’s much cherished staple food, stale bread. The Moors, the medieval Arabs who occupied the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years, made copious and imaginative use of stale bread, employing it to thicken, enrich and bulk out everything they could think of. The best kind of bread is a thick crusty bread, like a country bread or peasant bread. Try and not use crustless or thinly crusted types of bread as they don't hold up well in the soup and typically turn to mush.