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Portuguese Açorda Recipe

Portuguese Açorda Recipe

Açorda is a traditional Portuguese soup with a primary ingredient of stale bread. The soup is flavored with garlic, salt, cilantro or coriander, olive oil and black pepper. It is then served topped with a poached egg and can be additionally be accompanied by sliced bread and a drizzle of oil.

Preparation methods vary slightly. The bread can be added to the broth while it is still cooking, although this is more common when making açorda with seafood. Typically, the broth is cooked first then the bread as added to the pot just before servings or placed in the serving bowl where the broth is poured over.

Using stale bread is best because it does not break down as quickly as fresh bread. When no stale bread is on hand, fresh bread can be toasted first before using.

Cilantro gives this soup a distinctive flavor. Cilantro and coriander are from the same plant but don’t have the same flavor. In the US, cilantro refers to the plants leaves while coriander refers to its dried seeds. In some places the two names are used interchangeably. For açorda, it is the fresh cilantro leaves that are used.

It is not usual for other herbs be used in place of cilantro, in particular pennyroyal, an herb with a slightly minty scent. Other variations include açorda made with seafood like shrimp or codfish. Some add more vegetables such as tomatoes or meats like ham and chorizo.

Origin & Cultural Significance

Açorda was originally a peasant dish. It required just a handful of household staples and was a way to use up tough old bread. It’s believed to originate in the Alentejo region of Southern Portugal where it is most common.

The word açorda is thought to come from the Arabic term ‘Ath Turda’ meaning soup with bread. The Arabic Portuguese connection being that Portugal was once ruled by the Moors – Arabic speaking Muslims from North Africa circa the 8th century.

Acorda topped with bread, oil and cilantro.

Portuguese Açorda Recipe

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Açorda is a traditional Portuguese soup. Its primary ingredient is stale bread. The


  • Eggs - 6
  • Garlic cloves - 8
  • Cilantro - 1 bunch
  • Stale bread (sliced thick) - 6 slices
  • Olive oil - ¼ cup
  • Water - 8 cups
  • Salt - to taste
  • Pepper - to taste


    1. In a mortar, crush the garlic with a pestle.
    2. Add the cilantro leaves and olive oil gradually to form a paste.
    3. In a pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat.
    4. Season with salt and pepper.
    5. Reduce the heat to medium.
    6. Break the eggs over the pan and poach them for 3 minutes.
    7. Remove the poached eggs with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels.
    8. Pour the cilantro and garlic paste into the egg-cooking water and stir well.
    9. Prepare 6 bowls - at the bottom of each bowl, place a slice of bread and a poached egg.
    10. Pour the garlic and cilantro broth, adjust seasoning and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 242Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 336mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 9g

Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.

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