January 26, 2012

A Esquina da Fé, Lisbon. November, 2010

On our second trip to this hidden-away local restaurant, I had the same treat that I’d enjoyed the first time: sopa à alentejana. A rustic, homestyle soup, it’s made from the simplest of ingredients, often a dish cooks create to use up leftover things. Excellent chicken stock, laced with garlic, is the base and the key to making the broth as flavorful as it is. Slices of yesterday’s bread gone dry. A small handful of chopped cilantro. And a very fresh egg that’s been softly poached in the pot and gently placed on top in the bowl. Filling, nutritious and oh so good, it’s one of a number of bread-based soups from the rural Alentejana region south of Lisbon (also home to porco com ameijoas à alentejana, the famous Portuguese pork-and-clams dish.) Nothing could be better on a chilly November evening in magical Lisbon.

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