I love the line from the Sade song, “King of Sorrow” where she says “I want to cook you a soup that warms your soul.” This one will do just that, trust.
The entire point of eating for me is to enjoy the experience while nurturing my body. With all the spices, herbs and various nuts that can enhance that experience the happier I am. Add to that, vegetables, fruits, grains and meat and the balanced diet comes into play.
I love trying out new recipes or replicating ones I’ve had in restaurants. This dish, known as Açorda à Alentejana, is a garlicky bread soup which hails from Rosa Filipe of O Barro restaurant in Redondo, Portugal. She claims it’s nicknamed “beggar’s soup” because it contains no meat or fish. Well not in my kitchen, at least not last night! I had some wonderful rotisserie chicken from Costco and used the breast meat for this dish.
I wanted the soup, but with a little more fortification. My work recently has had me super busy and I wanted something to wake up the palette, fill me up with goodness and without a lot of fuss and time involved.
I must say that when making the garlic and cilantro paste I was already in love with this one. The addition of some Serrano chiles and we were in heaven. This is a simplistic soup, easy to put together in a few minutes and satisfying. What more could you want? Flavor? Well this one is packed with it and will have you going back for more.
First I cut up some day old sourdough bread into 1 inch cubes, spread them on a baking sheet and toasted them in oven until golden brown. It took a few minutes under the broiler, be sure not to burn them.
Pulse cilantro, garlic, Serrano chiles, salt, and pepper in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add the olive oil slowly and purée to a smooth paste. Separate a 1/2 cup of the paste in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a bowl toss the 1/2 cup of garlic cilantro paste and bread to coat. Set aside.
Heat the remaining paste in a 6 quart soup pot over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes. This is a very fragrant and delicious aroma!
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. I also added beef stock as I only had half of what I needed to make the 6 cups total.
In a small bowl whisk together the eggs. While stirring the broth, slowly drizzle in eggs. Cook until eggs are just set, about 1 minute. Similar to egg drop soup actually, and the egg picks up the puréed bits of cilantro to make sure each bite is super flavorful. Good stuff!
The soup is basically how she served it, but I wanted some chicken, too. I used rotisserie chicken for this and specifically just the breast meat. Divide the shredded chicken into soup bowls.
Remove soup from heat and stir in bread mixture, ladle this over chicken and serve hot.
This is so good. Let me know what you think if you try this one. Unique, flavorful and rustic sum up this beautiful soup. Enjoy!
- 2 bunches roughly chopped cilantro leaves and stems
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup olive oil
- 6 slices day old sourdough bread
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 roasted chicken breasts, shredded
- Pulse cilantro, garlic, Serrano chiles, salt, and pepper in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add oil slowly and purée to a smooth paste. Place ½ cup of paste in a bowl. Set aside.
- Cut bread into 1 inch cubes and toast in oven until golden brown. In a bowl toss the cilantro paste and bread to coat. Set aside.
- Heat remaining paste in a 6 quart soup pot over medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil.
- In a bowl whisk together the eggs. While stirring broth, slowly drizzle in eggs. Cook until eggs are just set, about 1 minute.
- Add shredded chicken into soup bowls. Remove soup from heat and stir in bread mixture, pour over chicken and serve hot.
Adapted from Rosa Filipe’s Açorda à Alentejana