Before I sat down to write this post, the first thing I did was try to find an english translation for açorda. Obviously, I came up empty handed and 'bread-soup' was the closest thing I could come up with. I call it bread soup because as far as I know, all açordas use day-old bread to thicken it. This soup is very typical of the southern Alentejo province of Portugal where açordas are also made using codfish (bacalhau) or seafood (marisco).
This is a very regional dish, and it's rare to see it served outside of the Alentejo province. My Mom fell in love with the dish when we happened on a 'hole in the wall' type of restaurant somewhere in the middle of the province on a very hot day. To this day, my Mom still talks about that meal.
Having never attempted to make this dish before, I had my doubts it would turn out, but it was dead easy to make and tasted SO good. It may take you a few minutes to get used to the texture of the soggy bread, but hopefully the flavour of the cilantro and garlic will make you think of açorda like a Portuguese version of French onion soup (minus the cheese)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup of olive oil
6 medium eggs
7 cups boiling water
6 cups (a good size loaf) day old Portuguese, French or Italian crusty bread, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1. In a large pot, get the water boiling and add the salt
2. Using a mortar and pestle, pulverize the garlic and cilantro together until it forms a thickish paste. Transfer to the bottom of a heat-proof bowl or casserole dish and drizzle with the olive oil.
3. Once the water is boiling, poach the eggs. The whites will spread everywhere, just be careful that he yolks don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Gently boil until eggs are cooked through (about 2 or 3 minutes)
4. Add the bread to the bowl and coat all the pieces with the cilantro-garlic-olive oil mixture. Sprinkle with the ground pepper.
5. Pour the boiling egg water mixture into the heat proof bowl and arrange the poached eggs on top. Sprinkle the top with fresh cut cilantro.
6. Serve at the table with a ladle being sure to give place an egg in each person's bowl.