For some time I was planning to expand upon soups with a bread base. So one day I decided to re-create the Portuguese Acorda soup. I started making the base for this soup and quickly got on a roll – I made two pots full of base. In one I mixed up the Portuguese Acorda and in the other I created a simple yet exquisite bread and garlic soup.
Although there is nothing fancy about such bread soups as they have been the food of the common peasants in Italy and Spain throughout the ages. These dishes were often made from the only things they could allow themselves: yesterdays stale bread, onion, garlic, water, and tomatoes. Sometimes the people would make the soup more rich and creamy by adding milk to the mix when they could.
I made a pot of simple bread-and-garlic soup and was floored by how delicious it turned out. I began to search the web for similar recipes as surely such tasty and easy to prepare soup has already been recognized and hailed for its many……..,but had no luck! This very basic and everyday soup I consider not just part of the ‘home cuisine’ but also belonging to the upper echelons of ‘haute cuisine’. Not knowing the list of ingredients it is impossible to recognize what the soup is made of with its earthy, velvety, and creamy notes.
- 1 large onion (12 oz), chopped
- Yesterday white bread (12 oz), cut into cubes (I have a French baguette)
- 5 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 quart of water
- Black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup cream
- heavy or whipping cream for serving (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes. The onions should be translucent and slightly golden.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the bread cubes and cook for 2-3 minutes, so the bread absorbs the flavors of the onion, garlic and olive oil.
Add salt, black pepper, bay leaf and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to the low and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the heat, you can discard the bay leaf or leave it in. (I blended the soup with the bay leaf).
Using a hand blender, stationary blender or a food processor, puree the soup.
Stir in the cream. Check for spices. If necessary, add more salt and pepper.
Serve garnished with a pattern of a few drops of cream and/or bread croutons.
Cook with pleasure!