Friday, 1 December 2017

Pap´açorda, Bread Pap Portuguese style

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder.We need something to warm the cockles,literally.Its time for a hearty Portuguese peasant dish -Pap’Açôrda camãrao (bread stew with prawns).Acorda, a traditional Portuguese bread-based stew with a consistency similar to creamy porridge, is composed of mashed, rustic artesan bread (typically Broa - corn bread), garlic, coriander, olive oil, white wine and of course Flor de sal.What you decide to add to it,the choice is yours,shellfish,prawns,or salt cod?

The breads-Broa de milho,pão bijou,pão pessegueiro

Nowadays perhaps it has lost favour as a stand-by dish to feed babies,but not so long ago it was still very commonly used for this purpose,although adults never turned their back on it.This prawn açorda is a richer version of seafood açorda, using only prawns.The liquid should be made from the the strained liquor left after cooking the prawn shells with garlic and parsley to make a rich stock that will give it it´s distinct seafood taste.The final touch to give the dish its signature: a raw cracked egg, stirred into the dish as the dish is put on the table.Açordas are traditionally served in a hollowed out loaf.The dish is very rich and as a result somewhat filling so if dining out do not even consider ordering anything else when choosing this as a main dish.Certainly never order this in the summer.I have only ever eaten açorda in a restaurant but found that it could be fairly achievable to produce at home.However, in conclusion, I decided it would be better suited to be served as a starter,served not in a hollowed out loaf but in hollowed out pão bijou (small rustic dinner rolls) and served with a quails egg cracked into each one as it is served.If divided into three main steps this is an easy way to approach making the açorda.
Acorda de camarão
Serves 3 more than adequately
1kg raw prawns in their shells
1 400g Broa de milho
(see above), cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium onion, diced and divided in two halves
6 peeled garlic cloves
1 bunch parsley, divided
1/4 cup white wine
Large handful coriander
A pinch of paprika
pinch of piri-piri flakes
Fresh ground salt & pepper
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 eggs


For The Fish Stock: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-heat in a large pan. Add half the onion, the prawn shells (after separating them from the prawns by hand), the garlic cloves (whole), and half the parsley (unchopped, with stems). Saute for 2-3 minutes and then add 6 cups of water.Bring mixture to a boil and add a sprinkling of salt & pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes before straining. While broth is cooking...
Prepare the prawns:In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-heat. Cut each prawn into three chunks. Add chopped prawns, the rest of the onion, coriander, paprika, and rest of parsley (chopped, stems removed.) Saute for about 5 minutes, until onion becomes translucent, stirring frequently. Set mixture aside.
Mash Bread:
By now, your fish stock should be finished cooking (and emitting a wonderful fragrant brothy smell as evidence!) With a colander, drain the broth into a bowl, saving the garlic cloves. Mash them up, since they will be soft from soaking, and add them to the prawn mixture. Set aside broth bowl.
In the large pan which you used for the fish stock, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the cubed bread and stir, and when olive oil is absorbed by bread add 2 more tablespoons. When bread has crisped slightly- make sure it does not burn- add the wine, then the stock, mashing the mixture as you go. It should first resemble the consistency of stuffing, then of a thick porridge as you continue to add liquid. Turn the heat to low as you mash. When the thick porridge consistency is achieved, gently stir in the shrimp mixture, and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.Spoon the açorda into the previously hollowed out rolls, crack a quail egg into each, stirring it into the hot porridge, and garnish with some fresh coriander leaves.

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