Portuguese Bread Soup with Shrimps Recipe

Portuguese Bread Soup with Shrimps

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation time: 40 minutes (plus 40 minutes if you make your own fish stock)

Portuguese bread soup, the Açorda,  has a porridge-like texture. Aside from bread, ingredients vary from region to region.  A poor man’s soup recipe, nourishing, simple and cheap, it has found its place on the fine tables of Portugal in the form of the Açorda de Camarão.


You can use good quality fish stock, available at most supermarkets, or decide to prepare your own shellfish stock from the shells and heads (the latter are quite often not available) of the shrimps used for this dish.

Shellfish Stock:

  • heads and shells of the 1 lb (450 g) shrimps used for the Açorda
  • 4 cups (1 L) water
  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 small carrot, roughly diced
  • 1/2 celery stick, about 1/2 cup (50 g)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • 5 black peppercorns


  • 4 cups (1 L) fish stock or the same quantity of shellfish stock
  • 1 lb (450 g) large raw shrimps, peeled and de-veined (keep shells for stock)
  • 1 lb (450 g) stale country bread, cut into large chunks
  • 1 onion, about 1 cup (140 g), thinly sliced
  • 1 leek about 1 cup (90 g), thinly sliced
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) dry white wine
  • 1 cup (200 g) very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) Spanish Chorizo, sliced into 3/8 inches (1 cm) slices
  • 3 anchovy filets, desalted and mashed with a fork
  • 4 Tbsp fresh cilantro (coriander leaves), finely chopped
  • dash of Piri-Piri hot sauce (substitutes: Sriracha or Tabasco)
  • a few drops of extra virgin olive oil (optional)


Shellfish Stock: 

Put all ingredients in a saucepan with water to cover. Cook over low heat for 40 minutes. Strain and set aside to cool. 


Soak bread in a bowl with enough water to cover.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and leeks to the saucepan and sauté gently until they begin to soften about 10 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until wine is reduced to half. Remove onion-leek mix to a plate and set aside.

Return saucepan to the stove top. Add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and cook tomatoes, garlic and oregano over low heat until tomatoes are soft. Add onion-leek mix, anchovies, pepper and ground coriander to the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes further breaking anchovies with the back of the spoon. Add the bread to the tomato-leek mixture and as much stock to obtain a porridge-like soup texture. Cook it for about 10 minutes, adding more stock or water, if necessary.

Add shrimps, chorizo, and cooked it until shrimps turn pink. Add a pinch of Piri-Piri hot sauce and sprinkle with fresh cilantro (coriander leaves) just before serving. You may drizzle a few drops of extra virgin olive oil on top.

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