Bread Soup with Cilantro, Garlic and Poached Egg

Bread Soup with Cilantro, Garlic and Poached Egg

This Portuguese soup from the province of Alentejo is known as a sopa seca, or “dry soup,” because its primary ingredient is bread. Each serving is topped with a poached egg that the diner must break with a spoon and swirl into the soup.


1 T. minced garlic

1 tsp. salt

1 C. chopped fresh cilantro

Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

1/2 C. olive oil

3 thick slices coarse-textured peasant bread, crusts removed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 C.)

4 eggs

3-4 C. chicken stock, optional


In a mortar, combine the garlic, salt, 1/2 C. of the cilantro and the red pepper flakes, if using. Mash with a pestle to form a paste. Add 1/4 C. of the olive oil, 1 T. at a time, and mix until well blended. Evenly divide the garlic paste among 4 warmed soup bowls and keep warm.  Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the bread cubes with the remaining 1/4 C. olive oil and toast in the oven, turning a few times, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes.  Distribute the bread cubes evenly among the soup bowls and toss them with the garlic mixture.  In a deep frying pan, bring a generous amount of water to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low so that the water barely simmers. Crack each egg and gently release it just above the surface of the water. Simmer undisturbed until the whites are set but soft and the yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the eggs and set aside on a plate.  You may use the egg-poaching water (you will need 3-4 C.) for finishing the soup or you may use stock. Bring the water or stock to a boil and pour it over the bread cubes in each soup bowl, using only as much as needed to cover the bread. Carefully slip a poached egg into the center of each bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 C. cilantro. Serve hot.










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