Once upon a time there was an old man (a different story speaks of ‘a travelling monk’) who went begging in the Algarve from door to door, farmhouse to farmhouse. One evening he reached a lonely farmhouse in the hills and the people there gave him shelter. He was very poor but very proud. When he asked in the kitchen if he could cook himself a little soup, they agreed. But the farmer’s wife was most surprised to see the old man reach into his bag and take out a few stones. He put the stones into his cooking pot, poured water over them and put the pot on the fire. How could the old man possibly think that these stones and water would make a good soup? “Be patient for a little while,” answered the old man and left. Feeling sorry for him, the farmer’s wife took whatever vegetables she had in her own pots and added a little of each to the stones.
In a different version of the story the old man supposedly answered that the stones where all he needed, but he would like just a few things to cook with them. Whatever the story, the result was the same. Stone soup was born and it exists to this day. Sopa de Pedra is an ideal way to use up left-overs.
Sopa de Pedra - Stone Soup
1 litre water or stock 2 tbsp oil
1 onion 1 large carrot
1 green lettuce 2 slices of toast
1 egg salt, pepper
Heat the oil in a saucepan, cut onion into slices and brown in the oil. Cut lettuce and carrot into small pieces, add to the onion and pour water or stock over it. Break toast into small crumbs and add to soup. Cook for about 10 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk the egg and pour gently into the soup.