Shellfish and bread soup recipe


Acorda is one of Portugal’s most well-known dishes; many different versions are available, depending on the area and its products. What they all have in common is that they are essentially soups that are simmered and poured over dense country bread and eggs. This version takes advantage of the abundant and high-quality seafood available from the Atlantic.

  • Yield: 12 portions (12 ounces/portion)


For Making the Broth
  • 2 lbs Head-on Shrimp
  • 2 oz Olive Oil
  • 8 oz Yellow Onion, diced medium
  • 4 oz Celery, diced medium
  • 0.5 oz Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 8 oz Tomato, chopped
  • 6 oz Dry White Wine
  • 3 qts Water
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 3 lbs Hard-Shell Clams, scrubbed clean
  • 12 oz Dry White Wine
  • 0.5 oz Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 3 lbs Mussels, debearded and scrubbed clean
  • Salt, to taste
Preparing Components for Acorda
  • 2 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 lbs Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 2 oz Garlic Cloves, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Crushed Red Chiles (can use Chili de Arbol or Red Pepper Flakes)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Broth (see above; measure broth to ensure there are 3 qts if not, add water as needed)
  • Shrimp (from Making Broth), peeled and deveined
  • Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 lbs Country Bread, sliced into 1-inch slices and toasted
Assembling the Acorda
  • 12 Large, Hot Bowls
  • Toasted Bread
  • 8 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Cooked Clams and Mussels
  • Poached Shrimp
  • 12 Large Eggs
  • ½ cup Cilantro, minced
  • Piping Hot Broth and Onions
How to Make It
    For Making the Broth
  1. Remove heads and peel the shrimp, setting the shrimp meat aside for later use (the shrimp meat will need to be deveined as well).
  2. In a smaller stockpot, heat the olive oil over a medium flame; once hot, add the shrimp heads, onions, celery, and garlic, and sweat until vegetables are tender and shrimp shells have turned red.
  3. Add the chopped tomato and turn heat up to fry slightly in the fat for 2 minutes.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and allow it to reduce au sec (to just about dry).
  5. Add the water, bay leaves, and black pepper, and bring the entire mixture up to a simmer; lower the flame to allow contents to lightly poach for 50 minutes.
  6. While the shrimp broth is simmering, place a pot large enough to hold the clams on the stove over a medium-high flame. Add the clams, minced garlic, and white wine, and cover tightly to prevent much steam from escaping; steam until clams open (about 5–8 minutes, depending on the size of the clams).
  7. Once they are open, remove the clams and add the mussels to the same pot; cover once again and steam the mussels until they open (about 2 minutes).
  8. Remove the mussels from the pot and strain the resulting broth into the now-poaching shrimp broth. (Take care to notice whether any sand has been released by the shellfish; if so, it will be on the bottom of the pot. Don't add the sand to the broth!)
  9. Once the shrimp shells and heads have poached for 50 minutes to 1 hour and the broth from the clams and mussels has been added, the resulting shellfish broth can be strained through cheesecloth, seasoned with salt, and set aside.
  10. Preparing Components for Acorda
  11. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (large enough to hold the broth and vegetables), heat the olive oil over a medium-low flame until hot, and then add the sliced onions and garlic; sweat over a medium-low flame until the onions and garlic become very tender and translucent.
  12. Once they are tender, add the crushed chiles and salt; mix thoroughly to distribute flavors.
  13. Add the broth to the pot, and turn the heat up to bring the mixture to a simmer; lower the flame to adjust broth to a poaching temperature.
  14. Add the broth to the pot, and turn the heat up to bring the mixture to a simmer; lower the flame to adjust broth to a poaching temperature.
  15. Adjust the seasoning of the broth with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  16. Turn the heat up to bring the broth to a boil.
  17. Toast the sliced country bread in 325F oven (or under a broiler) until the bread is golden; cut into smaller squares and set aside.
  18. Assembling the Acorda
  19. Distribute the toasted bread (drizzled with the extra virgin olive oil), the shellfish, one raw egg, and the cilantro evenly among the hot bowls; ladle the piping-hot broth and vegetables over the ingredients, and serve immediately.

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