When my father was a little boy, the "Açorde Alentejana" was mostly a supper for the poor. This soup with old, thin slices of bread, a boild egg, bacalhau (codfish) and lots of garlic warmed you up and the bread would make sure you wouldn't be hungry for the next few hours.
I remember visiting my grandparents in Alentejo during the hot summers (40 degress and more) and asking for Açorda. They simply couldn't understand why I would want a hot soup when outside you could barely walk in the hot temperatures. But the unspectacular reason is that my grandmother was a great cook (something my father definitely inherited from her) and I just loved her Açorda. And as I was living in Switzerland, this was the only chance I had to have her Açorda.
When I talked to my friend Vanda about publishing some Portuguese soup recipes she came up with the Açorda. Her parents are also from Alentejo. And I was curious to taste her recipe. So here it goes, a delicious winter (for me also summer) meal for a quick lunch or lazy dinner!
For the Broth:
2-4 clove of garlic (to taste)
3-4 fresh cilantro sprigs
2-3 tablespoon olive oil
¾ liter water
For the Soup:
1-2 clove of garlic (to taste)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 fresh cilantro sprigs
1 green paprika (cut into bite-sized pieces)
2 fresh eggs
2-4 slices of white bread
a piece of stock fish
In a mortar, crush the garlic with a pestle.
Add the cilantro leaves and olive oil gradually to form a paste.
In a pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Season with salt.
Reduce the heat to medium.
Pour the cilantro and garlic paste into the water and stir well.
In an another pot, bring the water to boil and break the eggs over the pan and poach them for 3-5 minutes.
Prepare 2 bowls. Top the bread with a poached egg, and ladle the hot broth over the eggs.
Garnish with cilantro leaves, a clove of garlic, green paprika and olive oil.
If you like, take a piece of cooked stock fish.
Pictures by Vanda Scazzari