Tomatada – a hot tomato soup with poached eggs

Tomatada – a hot tomato soup with poached eggs

tomatada
After making two batches of tomato jam, some spicy chutney for fish, and even musaq’a (a middle east dish with aubergines, tomato and chickpeas). I think it’s time to enjoy Tomatada before the tomato season comes to an end.

You need sweet over ripe tomatoes to make this delicious hot tomato soup with poached eggs. No canned tomatoes, nor sugar, neither carrot is allowed. You really need to find the most fully developed tomatoes to enjoy the soup’s unique flavour.

tomato

Serves 5

1kg of ripe tomatoes
500 ml of water
2 onions
3 garlic cloves
5 eggs
1 bay leaf
4 tbsp of olive oil
Herb bouquet: Fresh oreganos, mint and parsley
Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Alentejo’s Bread

Optional
1 chouriço (portuguese chourizo)
Olives
1 large red sweet pepper + 2 garlic cloves chopped

1. Peel and thin slice the onions.
2. Peel and chop the 3 garlic cloves.
3. Peel and chop the tomatoes (keep the juices, do not drain the tomatoes)
4. Remove the skin to the chouriço, and slice it.
5. Put a heavy saucepan on low heat, add the chouriço and let it fry on its own fat. As soon as the chouriço is crispy remove it from the pan and set aside. Keep the melted fat in the pan.
6. Add the olive oil, onions and garlic to the pan. Keep the low-heat and let them cook until soft.
7. Add the tomatoes, 250 ml of water, the herb bouquet, the bay leaf and season it with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to your taste. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes on a very low heat. Stir often.
The need to add the extra 250 ml of water will depend on how juicy the tomatoes are and if you like your soup more of a thick sauce or a watery soup. Keep adding it along the cooking process to reach the desired consistency.
8. Roast the bell pepper, remove skin and seeds. Cut the pepper into thin stripes. Place the pepper on a bowl add the 2 chopped garlic cloves. Season with olive oil and salt. Set aside.
9. As soon as the tomatoes are cooked. Check the seasoning.
If you like to keep the soup like a sauce, poach the eggs separately on water.
If you like your soup more watery, poach the eggs directly into the soup. Cover the pan and let them cook for around 4 minutes.
Serve immediately, with bread slices, olives, the chouriço and the roasted sweet peppers.

tomatada_sidedish
alentejobread2
I have offered the roasted sweet red pepper as a side dish because one of my kids doesn’t really enjoy the flavour. But you can add the raw sweet pepper strips to the soup at the same time as the tomatoes and let it cook.
Other Portuguese sausages can be cooked together with the chouriço, for example morcela (a portuguese blood sausage) and farinheira (a smoked sausage which the main ingredients are: pork, garlic, flour, pepper, potatoes).

This recipe is from the Portuguese Cuisine of Alentejo’s region, south Portugal.

Bom proveito! (Enjoy it!)

Beldroegas Soup – a weed on your plate

Beldroegas Soup – a weed on your plate

This week at the Farmer’s Market Mr. João had a few bunches of beldroegas for sale. In the Portuguese cuisine the beldroegas, a succulent weed that grows easily in the fields or in our gardens, is added to salads or cooked in soups.

I believe that you may know beldroegas by one of these names: Purslane, Verdolaga, Pigweed, Little Hogweed, Pursley or Moss rose (any other? Let me know and I will add it, or correct it). Maybe the picture will help:

beldroegas_mini

I was not carving for a salad but for something with poached eggs in it. Like my friend Isabel at Family Foodie says: this obsession for eggs is a Portuguese thing!

But then another question needed to be asked: should I go for the beans or the cheese soup? There are both delicious, and made with the same broth base so what’s the difference? The cheese soup has this unique way of combining a hot soup with fresh cheese, something that I only recall of seeing on Mexican cuisine – the Caldo de queso.

I was willing to make the fresh cheese soup, but family wanted the beans soup and my “customers” always have the final word. I will make the fresh cheese soup on another time because it’s one of that many fun childhood memories I have and want to revive.

In fact not only the Alentejo’s beldroega and the fresh cheese soup is on my to-do list but also the “tomatada” soup. Tomatada is a tomato soup with poached eggs (again), let the tomato season reaches it’s peek and sweetness (which occurs around August/September) and I will share the recipe with you.

By this time you should already realise that there is a poached egg in every soup I mentioned, well that’s a characteristic of many of the Alentejo’s soups, the soup is the meal, and the egg would replace the lack of meat or fish at many households.

beldroegassoup_makingof_mini

You will need for 4 people:
2 bunches of beldroegas (purslane)
800 g potatoes
150 g onion
1 head of garlic
200g white beans – optional (I used pinto beans instead – it’s called “feijão catarino” here in Portugal)
4 eggs
Bread (Alentejo’s bread)
Olive oil
Sea salt to season

1. Peel and slice the onions
2. Wash the beldroegas, handpick just the leaves
3. In a pot add the olive oil and cook the onions until soft
4. Add the beldroegas leaves and let cook until soft
5. Add 2 liters of hot water
6. Add the head of the garlic (remove all the white skin, but leave the skin of each garlic clove)
7. Bring to boil
8. Add the diced potatoes
9. Add the beans (already cooked)
10. Season with salt to your taste
11. As soon as the potatoes are cooked, poach the eggs in the soup. Cover the pot and cook until whites are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
12. Assembling the soup: cut the bread in very thin slices, cover the bottom of the bowl with the bread, spoon the soup and carefully place the poached egg. Serve immediately.
Bom proveito! (Enjoy it!)