Açorda Alentejana



This dish can be described with only two words: honest simplicity. I first tasted it through the hands of my grandmother when I was only a child. It was something that reminded her of her own childhood in Alentejo. The first memory I have of it can be portrayed like this:

“It’s raining. I run home to take refuge from the unforgiving cloudbursts that have been flooding my day. The weather has left me sullen. I enter the house trough the kitchen and the smell of boiled fish hits me, knocking down my hope for something comforting for lunch. Suddenly, a warm sweet fragrance engages me, disarming my bad humour. My grandmother is preparing something else. I watch her while her wrinkled hands cut garlic and cilantro, crushing and grinding them into a green piquant paste. She then adds olive oil and salt. On the side she is boiling eggs in a pan. She says she is poaching them, whatever that means. The water that boiled them is then poured into the mix. Slices of dry bread are placed in a plate and, with the eggs on top, the balmy broth is served.It’s my rescue from having to eat boiled fish! I want it!”

That day established one of my favourite comfort foods and, to this moment, that warm soup still instills me a sense of serenity.

One thought on “Açorda Alentejana

  1. The spoon is reaching for me! I’m inspired to bake some bread just to go with this, and my husband has asked for two poached eggs on his. I will need to practice poaching…
    Also, the detail of your grandmother’s hands brings this to life!

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