This very garlicky soup is based on some I had while in Madeira – acorda alentejana, which is a famous soup from the Alentejo region of Portugal.
The original soup is made with garlic, coriander, olive oil, bread and eggs but I’ve added a mix of fresh herbs and some poached chicken to this version, then used the poaching liquid in the soup for added flavour.
This simple yet very flavoursome soup takes a little time to prepare, but it is well worth the effort.
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If you don’t want to poach your own chicken or simply don’t have the time, you can add pre-cooked chicken instead or leave it out altogether to be more like the original soup.
If you like you can poach the eggs in the poaching liquid just before adding the garlic and herb paste, but I like to poach them separately so that the whites stay bright, then add them to the finished soup.
Garlic and herb soup with chicken, bread and a poached egg
For the garlic and herb paste
5 fat garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 small bunch fresh coriander (leaves and stalks), roughly chopped
1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley (leaves only), roughly chopped
25ml-30ml olive oil
For the soup
1 large chicken breast
1 litre chicken stock
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pinch dried chilli flakes (optional)
3 thick slices of bread
Dried chilli flakes (optional)
Blend the garlic, salt, coriander, parsley and olive oil together (using an immersion blender or food processor if you have one) until a rough paste is formed.
Place the chicken breast into a medium saucepan and pour over the stock. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for five minutes. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and leave for another 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the saucepan but do not discard the poaching liquid. Put the chicken on a plate and leave to one side to cool. When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, slice thinly against the grain.
Put a small frying pan of water on a high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and carefully break the eggs into the pan and poach for 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the poached eggs onto a plate lined with kitchen paper.
Pour the garlic and herb paste into the poaching liquid along with the black pepper and dried chilli flakes (if using) and stir well. Return the saucepan to the heat and bring back to the boil. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Prepare 3 bowls. At the bottom of each bowl place the sliced chicken followed by a thick slice of bread. Top each piece of bread with a poached egg then ladle the garlic and herb broth over the top.
Garnish with a little more chopped herbs, dried chilli flakes and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
Follow Beverley Hicks @thelittlechelseakitchen