Bread Soup with Cilantro, Garlic and Poached Egg

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 25m
  • Rating ****

Serves 4

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 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 thick slices coarse-textured peasant bread, crusts removed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock, optional


Combine the garlic, salt, 1/2 cup of cilantro and red pepper flakes in a mortar. Mash with a pestle to form a paste. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time. 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 cup olive oil and toast in the oven, turning a few times, until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.

Distribute the bread cubes evenly among the soup bowls and toss them with the garlic mixture.

Bring a generous amount of water to a rolling boil in a deep frying pan. 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 cups) 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 cup cilantro. Serve hot.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 670

nutrition information per serving

414 calories; 33g total fat; 212mg cholesterol; 930mg sodium; 16g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 14g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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