Portuguese Garlic and Cilantro Bread Soup (A\u00e7orda \u00e0 Alentejana)

Loaded with chorizo, garlic, cilantro, and olive oil, this satisfying soup transforms stale bread into a delicious meal. [Photograph: Daniel Gritzer]

Sort of like congee, but from Portugal and made with stale bread instead of rice, this deeply satisfying soup (it's really more like a porridge), is rich with garlic, olive oil, cilantro, chorizo, and a softly poached egg.

Why this recipe works:

  • Cooking the chorizo in olive oil that's later used in the soup not only creates a crispy chorizo garnish, but also infuses the entire soup with the flavor of chorizo.
  • Adding a serrano chili to the aromatics adds a faint, pleasant chili heat to the dish.

Note: The exact amount of liquid you will need to add to the bread and the time it will take to break down will vary depending on the type of bread and how stale it is.

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Portuguese Garlic and Cilantro Bread Soup (Açorda à Alentejana)

About This Recipe

Yield:Serves 4
Active time:1 hour
Total time:1 hour
This recipe appears in: How to Make Portuguese Garlic and Cilantro Bread Soup (Açorda à Alentejana)
Rated:

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 ounces dry-cured Spanish style chorizo, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small serrano chili, minced
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and tender stems, minced and divided, plus leaves for garnish
  • 2 cups chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 cups cubed or torn stale Portuguese bread or baguette, with crust
  • Water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 foolproof poached eggs or sous-vide poached eggs (optional)
  • Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

Procedures

  1. 1

    In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisped, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chorizo to a plate and set aside.

  2. 2

    Add onion, garlic, and serrano chili to same Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add two-thirds of cilantro and cook, stirring, until onions are lightly golden, about 3 minutes longer.

  3. 3

    Add stock to pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in bread and cook, adding water as needed 1/2 cup at a time and stirring occasionally, until bread has absorbed all liquid and has almost completely broken down into a porridge-like texture, about 30 minutes. Stir in remaining minced cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

  4. 4

    Spoon bread soup into bowls, top each with a poached egg, if using, along with sliced scallions, cilantro leaves, and crisped chorizo. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.

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