Portuguese Bread & Garlic Soup (Açorda)

January/February 1996

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This traditional Portuguese peasant soup is perfect for using up day-old bread.

Portuguese Bread & Garlic Soup (Açorda)

Makes: 4 servings, 1 1/4 cups each

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Total Time:


  • 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 12 sprigs cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 46-ounce can or three 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth, (about 5 1/2 cups)
  • 8 ounces day-old sourdough, or other coarse-textured country bread
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Crush garlic cloves with the flat of a chef’s knife (do not peel). Separate cilantro leaves from stems and set the leaves aside for garnish. Tuck the garlic, cilantro stems and crushed red pepper into a tea infuser (or cheesecloth bag) and place it in a large saucepan. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, until reduced to 4 cups, 15 to 20 minutes, skimming off any froth that rises to the surface.
  2. Meanwhile, cut bread into 1-inch cubes. (You will have about 4 cups.) Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the cubed bread and cook, stirring, until the bread is lightly toasted, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the tea infuser (or cheesecloth bag) from the reduced broth. Pour the broth over the bread. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 1 minute to allow the bread to soften.
  4. Sliver the reserved cilantro leaves.
  5. With a wooden spoon, mash the bread slightly so that it thickens the soup. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle cilantro over the top and serve immediately.


Per serving: 223 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 5 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 1 g fiber; 523 mg sodium; 73 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Folate (33% daily value), Selenium (21% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 fat

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Recipe Categories

Everyday favorites
Type of Dish
Other European
Ease of Preparation
Total Time
45 minutes or less

January/February 1996
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