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How To Make Açorda, the Traditional Portuguese Soup

ByFranziska Dietz

Mar 12, 2022

There is one realization every cook makes sooner or later: To create an excellent meal, you do not need many fancy and different ingredients. Often it is the rather puristic dish you create, which gets most of the attention, right? There is one typical dish from the Alentejo region of Portugal, which also does not need many ingredients. The Açorda is a traditional soup made from a handful of basic ingredients. Are you curious and want to find out more? In this article, we tell you all you need to know and how to make it yourself!

What is Açorda?

Açorda is a typical Portuguese soup, originating from the region of Alentejo. It needs no more than some basic ingredients: Eggs, bread, olive oil, garlic, cilantro, water and salt. Having these ingredients in good quality, your Açorda for sure will taste amazing!

These ingredients are used for a rather basic version of the soup. There are many variations in the Alentejo, also depending on where you go. The closer you get to the beach, the more likely you might find seafood and fish in your soup. Whereas heading to the interior of Portugal, ordering an Açorda you might be surprised with ham, rabbit or other meat as additional ingredient.

The two main ingredients, however, are eggs and bread. To get a delicious result, choosing the right bread for your Açorda is key!

Along with the egg, the bread is the most important ingredient of Açorda

Alentejano Bread

The traditional bread to make Açorda in Portugal is the Alentejano bread, pão Alentejano. This type of bread has gone through a long fermentation process before the baking. This gives the bread its distinctive sour taste. The crust of the bread is deliciously crispy, whereas the crumb is soft and holey.

And this region is not only home to this special type of bread. Due to the many foods and drinks produced in this region, it is also referred to as the bread basket of Portugal.

The Alentejo Region – Home of Açorda and Alentejano Bread

The home of this delicious bread, and of course the protagonist of this article, the Açorda, is situated in the south of Portugal. Its southern border neighbors the Algarve, in the east it borders to Spain, and in the north it borders the left bank of the river Tagus. And in the west, there is the beautiful Atlantic coast.

Due to the many foods and drinks produced in this region, it is also referred to as the bread basket of Portugal. And among Portugal travelers, to many the Alentejo region is home to Portugal’s most untouched places. The inland is dotted with cork oaks – this region is the biggest cork producer in the world – and olive trees. There are countless wheat fields and the rather lat landscape makes cycling and hiking easy. In between of all the nature, you also find small and historical cities, dating back to Roman times.

Also, the Atlantic coast has been a favorite spot for surfers ever since. The windy weather and huge waves make this region one of the number one big wave surfing locations worldwide.

Portugal is famous for its beautiful beaches!

Returning to the topic, this rather diverse region is where Açorda comes from. Some even call it the very soul of the region. So let’s head on and find out, how to make Açorda yourself!

A Recipe for Açorda

As already said, eggs and bread are the most important ingredients of the soup. Make sure to get both in excellent quality. If you cannot find Alentejano bread where you live and do not feel like making it yourself, you can also use sourdough which is a day or two old. Also, pane Toscano could be an alternative.

To make about 6 servings of Açorda, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 6 slices Alentejano bread
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 8 cups of water
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make Açorda

Firstly, put the garlic in a mortar and crush it with a pestle. Gradually, add the cilantro leaves and the olive oil until it forms a paste. Put the water in a pot and bring to boil over high heat. Season with salt and pepper and reduce the heat.

Next, break the eggs over the pan and poach them for 3 minutes. Remove the poached eggs with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels. Then pour the cilantro and garlic pesto into the egg-cooking water and stir well.

Prepare 6 bowls. At the bottom of each bowl, place a slice of bread and a poached egg. Pour the garlic and cilantro broth over it, adjust seasoning and serve and enjoy immediately!

This recipe was taken from 196 Flavors.

If you are looking for more traditional Portuguese recipes, check out our articles about pastel de nata and tosta mista.