Want a full flavoured soup for lunch or to kick off dinner, here's a recipe from from My Rio de Janeiro (Kyle Books USA, November 2013) by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz , on loan from Alfaia restaurant which offers Portuguese style food in Copacabana.
Garlic and Cilantro Soup with Poached Eggs and Croutons
This soup, another dish with a Portuguese influence, is one I can always rely on, as most of the ingredients will already be at hand at my house. I eat this soup at Alfaia, where they make it with water rather than stock, giving the garlic the duty of flavoring the broth, but I find that chicken stock elevates it to a whole new level, making for a rich, full, fragrantly deep soup with a flavor that can only come from a good stock. Then there is the cilantro, which is one of the most commonly used herbs in Brazil. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, you can substitute the same amount of parsley leaves or 2 cups shredded collard greens.
2 cups crustless bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
4 large eggs
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
5 cups chicken stock
5 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place the bread cubes in a medium bowl and drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over them. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat with the oil. Place in the oven and toast, stirring once halfway through, until the bread cubes just begin to get crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Fill a bowl with ice and water. Bring a saucepan of water to a simmer over medium heat, add the vinegar, and mix well. Break each egg into a cup or ramekin and gently transfer the eggs from the bowls into the simmering water, coming as close as you can to the water as you add them. Poach the eggs until the whites are set but the yolks remain runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove each egg from the simmering water and transfer to the iced water bath for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and cover loosely with foil.
In a large saucepan, heat the remaining ¼ cup olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and cook until it just starts to turn golden and become fragrant, about 3 minutes. Slowly stir in the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper.
Add the cilantro leaves just as you are ready to serve. Divide the toasted bread cubes and eggs among the soup bowls, ladle the soup on top, and serve.
RESTAURANT: Restaurante Alfaia
R. Inhangá, 30 – Copacabana
(* Recipe from My Rio de Janeiro by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz-Kyle Books USA, November 2013- Food photography by Kate Sears, all rights reserved)