Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Day old bread, vol. one: Dean Cochrane's Portuguese bread soup

Dear Readership,

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!
-Four cups chicken broth, or thereabouts.

-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)

Do List:

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!
Chop the onion and garlic fine.

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!
Add the shrimp and simmer for another couple of minutes until the shrimp are beautiful pink. The longer you simmer, the thicker the soup will get, so stop when it is the consistency you like.

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.

* * *


Vince said...

What the heck is an immersion blender. Is it what we call a wand

Cleveland Bob said...

Vince...yes. A wand or immersion blender are the same thing.

Ken Houghton said...

"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)"

Sriracha sauce. (Cookbook here.

I admit having trouble imagining a "budget" meal that requires a pound of shrimp. Though I guess the frozen stuff goes on sale occasionally.

Erin O'Brien said...

For me, the star of this was truly the broth (as well as the method), which I see as being very versatile.

I have some need-to-use stuffing cubes that are going to rock this. With leftover chicken and veggies, this is going to ROCK.

Matt Conlon said...


Anonymous said...

I had the same thought as Ken about the shrimp.

Chris said...

Dean's SO here. We're on the West Coast, so can usually get a bag of frozen shrimp for 5 or 6 bucks. And you could easily substitute leftover chicken or pork.

Anonymous said...

Yum. I use my leftover bread to make croutons which also rock out and I've gotten so attached that I won't eat homemade salad without them. Maybe I could spare a few because this sounds great. I can't cook with shrimp because Hubby has an allergy to it.

I will try this in some capacity soon. I love the guest post and Dean looks rightly scary but approachable. Nice saucepan and I think we have the same stove.

The Portuguese had a huge influence on Massachusetts back when they ruled the seas, so you still find Portuguese rolls everywhere in grocery stores around here. I never buy them, though. They seem to be made with sugar and lard. Soft and chewy and sweet.