Hard times being what they are, I figure it's time to downgrade again. You show me a cool utility-level downgrade, you get my respect. You produce dinner out of shitty old bread? You get my respect and then some.
My buddy Dean Cochrane has just such a solution for day-old bread: Portuguese bread soup. I loved this recipe as soon as I read it and as the embedded photos indicate, I couldn't wait to try it.
Dean, the floor is all yours.
-Some stale bread - if it's not hard-stale, it's ok, but once bread goes stale. I leave it to go hard as a rock for this recipe.
-One pound shrimp.
|Homemade frozen stock, boss!|
-One small onion.
-Three or four cloves garlic.
-Two tbsp. olive oil.
-Hot sauce - I use Chinese pepper and garlic sauce. Serve it with extra hot sauce for those who like it über-hot. Or you can use that Vietnamese chili sauce in the clear plastic bottle with the picture of the cock on it (NO ERIN--THE MALE CHICKEN)
Cut the stale bread into cubes maybe 1" across--just chop it up. Save
all the bread powder that comes off. Use about 2 cups, give or take.
|It's a garlic press, not a speculum, boss!|
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottom pot until it shimmers; then add the onion. Sauté till transparent, one or two minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
Add the bread including the bread powder. Stir frequently until the bread is mostly dark gold, and then pour in the stock. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes or so.
Add hot sauce to taste. You want the broth to be spicy, but not so hot that you don't like it.
|I'm watching the timer, boss!|
One warning: it progresses quickly, so you can't leave this for more than a few minutes or you risk it thickening too much and burning. And it tastes like shit if you burn it. Trust me on this.
This is really quick and filling and a good way to use up old bread. You can add other things. I sometimes put leftover peas in it, or corn. Garlic-fried beans are good in this, too. Broccoli, cut small, or maybe some cauliflower.
I followed Dean's recipe to the note, but I did use an immersion blender to smooth out the broth before I added the shrimp. It came out so rich and velvety, I wanted to call this a poor man's bisque. The soup was simply wonderful.
I can't wait to try this with leftover chicken, peas, carrots and potatoes instead of shrimp. It will be one royal chicken pot pie soup.
As for the Cock Sauce? HELL YEAH!
You rock my face off, Dean. Thanks, amigo.
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