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Printed From: Foods of the World Forum
Category: Europe
Forum Name: The Iberian Peninsula
Forum Discription: Spain, Portugal and diverse influences such as Moorish, Celtic and Basque.
Printed Date: 19 August 2019 at 02:15

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 22 January 2019 at 12:30

Spain, particularly in the past 40 years or so, has emerged as a global culinary leader. Spanish cookery, both traditional and modern, has a well-earned place in the foods of the world.

There is, however, an unfortunate tendency to use the words “Iberia” and “Spain” interchangeably. Lost in the shuffle is Spain’s smaller neighbor to the west and south. I’m talking, of course, about Portugal.

Portuguese food, while distinctly Iberian in nature, is emphatically not Spanish. In fact, more than one authority has pointed out that the Portuguese use spices and flavor combinations that would astonish the Spanish palate. In short, it’s a different Iberian cuisine, albeit much less well known.

This is rather strange. During the Age of Discovery, Portugal was a leader in opening parts of the world relatively unknown. In fact, Portugal was the first European country to open Japan to trade, and played a major role in Africa, Asia, and even the United States.  Nor is it an accident that Brazil is Portuguese in nature. 

Portugal’s effect on world cuisines is such that, in at least two instances, what was to become the national dish of a country was adopted from Portuguese explorers. A neat bit of reverse influence.

The first of these is Portugal’s ubiquitous sweet bread.  When Portuguese sailors stopped in the Hawaiian Islands, natives were so in love with the bread they adopted it as their own.  Nowadays known Hawaiian Bread, it is marketed as such in much of the world---with nary a hint that it is, in actuality, Portuguese in origination.

The second instance is even more dramatic. Back in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Church imposed many more fast days then is common today.  On those days, no meat could be consumed.  These restrictions were called “temporas.”

One of the dishes prepared on those days consisted of green beans, batter dipped, and fried.  When Portugal opened Japan to the West, the Japanese adopted and expanded on that technique. And so “tempura” was born.

Portugal is a small country, stretching a mere 360 miles, north to south, and, at its widest, 140 miles east to west.  To put that in perspective, Lake Michigan is 310 miles long, and 70 miles wide. 

Despite its size, Portugal is divided into 11 provinces, including two major island groups, which, due to geology and climate, group into five regions, each of which has developed its own cuisine and use of ingredients.  Unlike most countries, however, when regional dishes become  nationally popular, they most often bear the region of origin as part of the title.

For instance, the unique yeasted corn bread that originated in the north is, colloquially called “Broa.” But, throughout the rest of Portugal, it is called Pao de Milho; the bread of Milho. In an interesting switch, in Madeira they make that bread with the addition of sweet potatoes, and it’s then called Pao de Milho a Madeirense---the bread of Milho, in the Madeiran style.

This “from whence it came” tendency is far from unusual, and makes it much easier to authenticate recipes.  I don’t know of another culture that does this on a regular basis.

While far from unknown, beef does not figure predominately in the Portuguese diet. Pork, lamb, and poultry are, however, major players. Sausages play a big role, with several types.

Seafood, both fish and shellfish, as one would expect, are major ingredients. Salt cod, both historically and in modern times, is a national mania. The Portuguese look at salt cod the way the Turks look at eggplant. There are at least a hundred ways it’s prepared.

Dairy is an important part of the cuisine, but more in the form of butter and cheese.

Legumes---beans and peas---are major contributors to the diet, as is rice and other grains.

Portugal is, without question, a bread-centric nation.  With the possible exception of the Republic of Georgia, I don’t know of another country, especially one of its size, with so many types of bread. What’s more, they use bread in numerous other dishes, often substituting for the flour or other thickeners used in other cuisines.  For example, Portuguese fish cakes use moistened and squeezed out bread as the binder.  While other cultures do the same, the proportion of bread to fish is higher in Portuguese versions. And a hallmark of Portuguese cuisine are its “acordas,” dry soups based on a bread base, to which is added a little oil, some garlic, and whatever proteins and vegetables are available.

In a departure from my usual practice, I’m going to list my sources here, in the introduction. Two reasons for that.  First, because if anyone is interested, they can obtain these same sources (and others, to be sure) and dive in.  Second, perhaps more important, is to say thank you to the folks who helped me put this exploration together. 

Chief among them is our own Hoser.  While we tend to think of New Bedford and Fall River as being Portuguese cities, the fact is there are Portuguese communities all over the New England coast. Rhode Island is no exception, and Dave is wired-in to some of them.  He’s been invaluable providing information about how those communities do things. Equally important, he provided me with contacts from which to order specialty products unavailable to me locally.  So, once again, thanks, Dave.

I’ve also had inputs from European friends who love Portuguese food. They’ve been incredibly helpful, sharing tips and recipes. Y’all know who you are.

There are numerous books about Portuguese cooking; Amazon has about five pages listing them. I used five, including the Foods of the World volume “The Cooking of Spain and Portugal,” that Ron sent me.  Regular readers know I’m not a big fan of that series, but there were some interesting insights that were helpful. Of course, as with overall knowledge of the other Iberia, Portugal gets short shrift.  In 194 pages of text, a scant 45 are dedicated to Spain’s smaller neighbor.

As to the other books, they are:

Authentic Portuguese Cooking, Ana Patuleia Ortins, Page Street Publishing, Salem, Mass, 2015.

Azorean Cooking From My Family Table To Yours, Maria Lawton, no publishing info available (perhaps self-published?).

Recipes From My Portuguese Kitchen, Miguel Castro e Silva, Anness Publishing Ltd, London, 2017.

The Taste of Portugal, Edite Vieira, Grub Street, London, 2013.

One cautionary note: More than any other culture I’ve explored, the recipes in Portuguese cookbooks tend to be poorly written. Whether this has to do with translation, misunderstanding on the part of the authors, or other causes I can’t say. But be prepared to read the recipes carefully, and make any obvious adjustments.

The recipes I’ll be providing have all been tested in my kitchen, and adapted as necessary.







But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 22 January 2019 at 14:46
Looks like a great start, Brook. I've gotten the same impression that you have about Portuguese cuisse in my own limited exposure: Iberian in character, but absolutely unique in its own right.

My own personal observations have led me to be amazed at how widespread the Portuguese culinary influence is around the world; this is of course due to Portugal's huge influence during the Age of Exploration, but I was impressed with how well it worked into not only native foodways, but also how it mixed with influences that came afterwards.

Once again, my exposure has been limited, so I could be off somewhat; having said that, I am really looking forward to seeing the installments of this series as they arrive. Many thanks for taking the time to put your interest into words so that we can all benefit from it.

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 24 January 2019 at 08:13

Technically, Portugal is not a Mediterranean country. It’s cuisine, however, is Mediterranean in nature.

Like many Mediterranean countries, there is a tradition of small-plate dining. In Portugal, these small-plates are called petiscos.

Some sources liken to tapas. But that can be misleading. In Spain, tapas are a unique culture, tied in with pub crawling and drinking.  In Portugal, the petiscos are actually served more in the way of Greek Mezze, or even Ukrainian Zakusky. Friends and family, either at home or in a restaurant, gather around a table filled with a selection of these small, one- or two-bite dishes, which are shared. In short, rather than a regular meal, everyone gets a taste of everything.

This is similar to Americans ordering just from the appetizer menu, and sharing the various tastes.

Regular readers know that I’m a small plate slut. So the idea of a petiscos table is very appealing to me. It’s also a great way of beginning our exploration of Portuguese cuisine.


(Shrimp Mozambique)

Portuguese colonists in South Africa discovered this dish and brought it home with them, where is swept the country. I remains one of the most popular dishes throughout the nation. Some recipes call it Piri Piri Shrimp, but it’s the same dish.

     Recipes vary, as you can imagine. What they share in common is their spiciness. This version is, indeed, a less hot version. But it’s still not for those with an aversion to heat.

4 tbls butter, divided use

¼ cup finely chopped onion

8 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley, divided use

1 tsp turmeric

½ tsp saffron, crushed

½ cup warm water

1 tbls tomato paste

½ cup white wine or light beer

1 tbls fresh lemon juice

2 tsp piri piri or other hot chili sauce

½ tsp white pepper

1 lb medium shrimp (26-30 count), peeled and deveined

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Toss in the chopped onion and sauté just until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the garlic, half the cilantro, turmeric, saffron, water and tomato paste. Cover and simmer 2-3 minutes so the flavors can mingle.

Stir in the wine, lemon juice and chili sauce. Cover and raise the heat to medium-high; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and give them a turn in the sauce. Cook for 3 minutes over medium-low heat until the shrimp are just curled and have turned opaque. Stir in the remaining butter.


(Portuguese Tempura Beans)

Translated as “little fish from the garden,” this is the dish that was to become the national cooking technique of Japan.

     There’s a particular irony here. The Portuguese, in Japan, were more concerned with converting the heathens than in trade, and were eventually kicked out because of their missionary activities. So, what we have, is a national dish created from a religious rite that the Japanese had totally rejected.

     Who says food isn’t the great leveler?

1 lb tender beans, cooked and cut in equal lengths

For batter:

4 oz white flour   


2 eggs, beaten      


Oil for frying

In a deep bowl, mix he flour with enough water to make a paste the consistency of thick cream. When the flour is well mixed and free from lumps, add the eggs and a little salt.

Coat the beans with batter and fry them in twos and threes over medium heat until golden. Absorb excess fat on kitchen paper as you take the “fishes” out of the frying pan.

These are good hot or cold, generally accompanying any meat dish, but are good alone, or with a tomato sauce or aioli.


(Portuguese Octopus Salad)

Octopus, along with squid and cuttlefish, is very popular throughout Portugal. Finding it where I live is all but impossible, but I did find a source for frozen legs. Which, other than the incredible cost, worked out fine, because that’s all that is used in this dish.

     The fact is, I only bought one pound of it, and adjusted the recipe accordingly.

4 lb octopus, fresh or thawed                                                

½ cup olive oil, divided use

1 large onion, quartered                                                         

1 bay leaf

1 cup water          

1 red bell pepper, in med pieces

1 sm red onion, roughly chopped                                          

2-3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tbls parsley or cilantro, chopped                                         

2 tbls wine vinegar

Scant tsp Dijon mustard                                                        

Salt & pepper to taste

Fresh lettuce leaves                                                               

Black olives for garnish

Prep octopus. Cut legs in 2-3 inch pieces. Set aside

In a heavy pot with tight-fitting lid, heat ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat. Throw in the onion quarters and bay leaf, and sweat the onion about 5 minutes. 

Add the octopus. Give them a stir and cover tightly. Reduce heat to medium-low and let the octopus sweat for about 10 minutes. If it’s only 2 ½ pounds, sweat only 5 minutes.

Add the water and give a stir. Cover tightly, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, slowly for 40-45 minutes, depending on leg thickness. After 30 minutes, keep checking for tenderness using the tines of a fork. Cut a thin slice from thickest part of leg and taste for tenderness. Drain and discard onion and bay leaf

Let octopus cool slightly. Transfer to a bowl and mix with the chopped red pepper, red onion, and garlic

Make the dressing: In a cup or bowl, whisk together the cilantro, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Drizzle in the remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Mix well and drizzle over the salad, turning the pieces to coat.

Serve at room temperature or chilled, on lettuce leaves. Garnish with olives.


(Portuguese Marinated Mushrooms)

The Portuguese love wild mushrooms, and forage for them whenever possible. The real secret of this dish is to use an assortment, rather than a single type.

     Rather than put my own selection together, I found prepackaged mixes of oyster, shiitake, and portobellos, which made a perfect combo.

14 oz mixed wild mushrooms                                                

2 tbls olive oil

7 oz raw ham, sausages and bacon, in any combination, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped                                              

1-2 tbls white wine vinegar

3 tbls chopped parsley

Wipe mushrooms and cut or tear larger ones in half or quarters

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the meat cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon vinegar and cook 1 minute more.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley. Serve immediately, or, if serving cold, add the rest of the vinegar.

Next time we’ll look at a few more possibilities for a petiscos table.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: pitrow
Date Posted: 25 January 2019 at 08:29
Great reading Brook! especially the tempura part, I had no idea. I always thought tempura was totally a Japanese thing. Thanks for the lesson. 

Mike" rel="nofollow - Life in PitRow - My often neglected, somewhat eccentric, occasionally outstanding blog

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 25 January 2019 at 09:51
That's one of the great joys of food history, Mike, uncovering those bits of trivia.  

Like just about everyone else, I always thought tempura was a purely Japanese thing.  

I call events like that "reverse influence." Shrimp Mozambique is another example, in the other direction. It's a dish that was adopted, in whole, from another culture, and became iconic to the new one. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: Hoser
Date Posted: 25 January 2019 at 12:22
It certainly appears that you are off to a roaring start compliments to you on the small plates menu. Over the course of many years hosting the July 4th celebration, I must admit that mine has now morphed into a plethora of small plates rather than the old pulled pork, burgers and dogs. 

Actually, for the last 5 years or so, if you wanted a burger, I'd have to go pull one out of the freezer for you and cook it up. I love this presentation of small plates because although I'm still rather busy at the grill, it gives me much more time to interact with my guests between courses, and after all...isn't that what it's all about?

Looking forward very much to what is coming up in your in your trek through Iberia.Thumbs Up

Go with your food!

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 25 January 2019 at 14:50
I've always loved the small-plates idea, Dave.  At any event, I'd rather prepare several small plates with diverse flavors than a traditional meal.  It's not only more fun for me, it encourages my guests to interact with each other, with many a, "hey, did you try those......"

At a guess, I'd say the small-plates thing in America began in the late '70s and '80s when there was a growing trend to order from the appetizer size of the menu. In fact, at most restaurants, appetizers weren't. Rather, they were what used to be called "a la carte."  That is, you got the main part of a meal, without the sides. Given the size of the portions, it was logical to share. 

Later, as the globalization of American cuisine took hold, we discovered that much of the world had been dining like that for ages. 

One of the nice things about small plates, when entertaining, is that so many of them are designed to be served cold or at room temperature. This allows the host to prepare them ahead of time, of course. But, over all, it gives the hosts even more time to spend with their guests. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 28 January 2019 at 09:08

Here are a few more dishes for a petiscos spread:


(Portuguese Hand Pies

Risolles are a mania for the Portuguese. Hardly made at home, anymore, because they are available everywhere at bakeries, food stands, and from street vendors. 

     Risolles are a Portuguese version of empanadas. Usually filled with a prawn filling, they also are made with other mixtures as well, including fish, fish & shrimp in combo, and, as in this example, chicken.

     There’s nothing wrong with rolling the dough. But the traditional method is to form the dough into a log, then use a small rolling pin to scrap some of dough down from the face of the log, roll it out, fill it, fold it over, crimp, and use an appropriate sized round cookie cutter to cut the risolles off the log.  And, yes, that’s as difficult as it sounds, until you get the hang of it.

For the dough:

9 oz flour

1 cup water

½ tsp salt

1 tbls butter

3 ½ oz milk

For the coating:

2 eggs, beaten

Dried breadcrumbs

Oil for frying

For the filling:

2 tbls butter

¼ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup celery, chopped fine

1 cup milk

½ tbls finely chopped cilantro or parsley

1-2 tsp hot pepper sauce, or to taste

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

¼ tsp nutmeg

2 tbls cornstarch

2 tbls water

1 ½ cups coarsely chopped poached chicken (approx. ½ pound)

Make the filling: Melt the butter in a 1-qt saucepan. Add the onion and celery and saute over medium-high heat until lightly golden. Reduce the heat to medium-low, pour in the milk, and heat to really hot but not boiling. Add the cilantro, hot pepper sauce, salt, pepper and nutmeg, and stir to combine.

Make a slurry by combining the cornstarch with the water. Stir into the milk and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until it thickens, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the chopped chicken, heat through for 1 minute and remove from heat. Set aside to cool completely. Makes about 2 cups filling.

Make the pastry: Bring the water and milk to boil with the butter. Remove from heat and add the flour. Beat thoroughly and bring to the heat again to cook the flour, stirring continuously until dough comes away from the pan. Remove from heat, beat and work the dough lightly until smooth. Allow to cool.

Roll out the pastry to 1/8-inch. Cut into rounds using a 2-3 ½-inch cutter. Divide the filling among all the rounds, wet the edges with beaten egg, fold in half and press well to seal.

Dip each rissole in beaten egg, then in breadcrumbs. If time allows, chill for 1-2 hours. Deep fry until golden brown, turning once. Serve hot or cold.


(Portuguese Creamy Sardine Spread)

This is a great tasting fish spread, that makes a good sandwich as well as a petiscos. Which sardines are specified, I’ve also made it using mackerel and even eel.  It’s all good!

1 generous cup flaked sardines (2-3 4-oz cans in olive oil)   

3 tbls softened cream cheese                                                 

2 tbls scallion, finely chopped                                               

1 tbls parsley, finely chopped                                                

1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced                                                            

1 tsp tomato paste

½ tsp hot sauce    

½ tsp salt or to taste                                                               

White pepper to taste

Transfer the fish to a bowl and flake into small pieces using the flat side of a fork. If you use canned, drain well and pat dry, gently removing most of the skin, main bones, and heads. Mix in the cream cheese, scallion, parsley, mustard, garlic, tomato paste, hot sauce, salt if needed, and white pepper.

     Mix well, thoroughly blending for about 1 minute. Chill until needed and serve on toasted bread points or crackers.


(Salt Cod Croquettes of St. Michael Island)

One thing the Portuguese do have in common with their Spanish cousins is a love of salt cod. It’s said there are more than 100 ways of cooking it in Portugal. Based on my research, it’s an easy-to-believe figure.

     This recipe comes from St. Michael Island, in the Azores.

2 days ahead:       

1 lb salt cod, soaked in several changes of water for 24-36 hours

For the sauce:       

4 tbls butter          

2 large onions finely chopped                                                

½ cup finely chopped parsley                                                

½ tsp white pepper

¾ cup flour           

Pinch nutmeg

1 cup whole milk or as needed                                              

to taste

For cooking:         

Corn or grapeseed oil for frying                                            

1 egg beaten with 1 tbls water                                              

Breadcrumbs as needed                                                        

Hot sauce (optional)

Bring 2 quarts water to boil. Drain & rinse the fish. Add the fish to the hot water, turn off heat, cover, and let fish poach 15 minutes. Transfer fish to a bowl. When cool enough to handle, chop fine using a knife or meat grinder.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions and saute until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and white pepper. Gradually whisk-in the four and nutmeg. When roux starts to bubble, gradually whisk in enough milk to make a very thick white sauce. Remove from heat.

Mix shredded fish into the sauce. If too thick to stir, add just a touch of milk, ¼ cup at the most. Mixture should be thick enough to hold a shape once fish is incorporated. Allow mixture to cool completely. Several hours or overnight in fridge helps stiffen it.

Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep saucepan. Take a tablespoon of fish mixture, shape into a thumb-sized log. Dip in egg wash, then roll in crumbs.  Lay on a sheet pan while shaping remaining mixture. Working in batches, and without crowding pan, fry croquettes until golden brown.  Set aside to drain.


(Portuguese Tomato Salad with Marinated Peppers and Oregano)

Don’t get the idea that all petiscos are proteins. Vegetables play a big role, and a handful of olives or a simple salad is often part of a spread. This is one example.

     Marinated peppers are sold in jars, in the U.S. as pimentos. They’re perfectly fine for this dish. But you can easily make your own, and I’m providing a recipe for doing so.

2 marinated bell peppers, drained                                          

6 ripe tomatoes, sliced

1 tbls fresh oregano, chopped                                                

5 tbls olive oil

2 tbls white wine vinegar                                                       


Arrange the marinated peppers and tomato slices on a serving dish, prinkle with the oregano, and season with the salt.

Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar and pour the dressing over the salad. Serve immediately or cover and keep in the fridge until needed


(Portuguese Marinated Peppers)

Although the recipe calls for both green and red peppers, don’t feel constrained by that. If you want to use all red, or other colors, go ahead and do so.

Wrap one green and one red bell pepper in foil. Place on a baking sheet, and cook in a preheated 350 degree oven, turning occasionally, 20-30 minutes until tender. Unwrap and let cool.

Peel, halve, and deseed the peppers. Cut into strips and pack in a screw-top jar. Add olive oil to cover, close and store in the fridge up to six days.

For longer storage, put jars in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes. They can then be stored in the fridge for up to six weeks.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 29 January 2019 at 11:42
This is really looking good, Brook - I am loving the Portuguese profiles and styles that are happening here.

A lot of good things, but the Shrimp Mozambique and the Sardine Spread caught my eye right away. I'm thinking that a version of the shrimp with Frank's Regular or other mild sauce might be alright to try with The Beautiful-Yet-Sensitive Mrs. Tas. The Marinated Mushrooms would be wonderful on our next Steak Night, as well ~

Keep up the good work!

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Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 30 January 2019 at 03:46

Absolutely, exemplary authoring  Brook. 

Do note, that there are a multitude of ingredients used in Portuguese regional cuisines, including:  Huelva and Cadiz, Spain,  Galician ( northern ),  Madeira Island,  The Azores, Brazil,  Goa, India, Mozambique, Africa and other former Portuguese colonies ..  

Lisbon, is well recognised for its Michelin Restaurants, and especially for its amazing White wines, Verdejo, Ports and  Duero Red  Wines ( border of Salamanca, Spain). 

Book Recommendation:   José Avillez,  Michelin Star Food Designer & Executive Chef, who uses Portuguese regional products in new formats at his lovely Two Star Restaurant.  


Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 30 January 2019 at 07:19

I’d mentioned those regional differences up near the top, Margi. Just didn’t see any need to go further into detail, at that place.

Portugal’s 5 regions are defined by geography and climate, which, in turn, determine what is grown. And there, too, in ingredients differences. Corn, in the north, for instance, and the Moorish influences in the south. If sweet potatoes are a major ingredient, it’s a pretty good chance the recipe originated in Madiera. And the Azores, of course, have a completely different spin on things.

Due to the Ports’ tendency to include the regional names in dishes that have achieved national popularity, there are hints to ingredients differences, because they show up when we talk about recipes. And there are some real surprises, such as the fact that pineapples are a major cash crop in the Azores

This goes deeper than ingredients, though. Recipes often reveal their origins from the techniques or equipment used. For instance, if a dish indicates it should be cooked in a cataplana, we know it originated in the south, even if regular pots are now used.  A cataplana is a unique cooking vessel, introduced by the Moors. Basically, it’s a hinged, metal, clamshell-like vessel that acts as a pressure cooker when closed. 

Any introduction to a cuisine is a matter of editing. One cannot cover the totality of a culture’s approach to food. So, instead, we choose those elements that would likely appeal to the broadest segment of home cooks, consistent with ingredients availability and other factors.

The key word there is “introduction.” If a reader’ interest is piqued, they can easily delve more deeply into the cuisine.

One of the things I intentionally left out is how Portuguese colonialism influenced its foodways. And vice-versa.  There are some instances where this is so dramatic that I included them (i.e., Hawaiian Bread, Tempura, and Shrimp Mozambique). But, in general, they got omitted.  Thus, places like Goa, Macao, Mozambique, and even New Bedford---cities we easily think of as being Portuguese with local influences, have been left out or given short-shrift.

I appreciate the cookbook reference. But you may have noticed that, in all my introductory threads, I try to avoid chef-written books.  My interests, and, I believe, those of most FotW readers, are in the foods that the people actually prepare and eat.  

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 30 January 2019 at 09:50

Soups are a mainstay of Portuguese cuisine. There are regional specialties, family recipes, and s soups that are nationally popular.  Many of these reflect the regional nature of Portugal, and are based on locally available ingredients.

There’s no better place to start a discussion about Portuguese soups than Caldo Verde---which is as close to being the national dish of Portugal as one is likely to get. It’s also one of the few Portuguese dishes to achieve international recognition.

Even for a soup, the variations on a theme are extensive. Just about every home cook and professional chef has a version, varying slightly or greatly, one to the other. There are, literally, hundreds of variations.

The question is: What, exactly, is Caldo Verde?  It translates, simply, as “green soup,” or “green broth.” Which implies that some sort of greenery is an integral part of the dish.  While the greens bring a vibrancy to the plate, caldo verde is actually a misnomer. This is actually a potato soup, brightened p with greens, and kicked up with the flavors of linguica or chourico sausages.

Because Portugal, historically, is a poor, rural country, meat proteins are, more often than not, uses as flavoring components, rather than main ingredients. As we will see as the exploration continues, this is not always the case. But it certainly is with Caldo Verde, where there is very little sausage, compared to other ingredients. Indeed, some recipes leave it out altogether.

Without question, the greens are the star of the show. But, the question arises, what greens? There is, for instance, a world-wide controversy over this question. The argument centers on whether kale or collards are the “authentic” green to use.  While proponents in each camp provide all sorts of explanations as to why theirs is the one true gelt, others chime in with other choices.

Dave (Hoser) probably summed it up best, when he suggested that any spring green---even spinach---not only works, but is proper as well.

On one hand, in terms of color and flavor, Dave is absolutely right. But, in terms of authenticity, he, and all the rabid proponents of one green versus another, are wrong!

How’s that for a show stopper?

Caldo Verde originated in the province of Minho, in northern Portugal, and quickly spread to the rest of the country. It used a special cabbage called Galegas. This is a tall-growing plant, with leaves that grow up the length of the stem, sort of like Brussels sprouts.  Unless you grow your own, it’s unlikely you’ll find it outside of Portugal, unless you know a Portuguese family that grows it, and is willing to share.

Adding to the confusion: Galagas actually is grown in the Spanish province of Galicia, for which it’s named.

The real hallmark of the soup is that the galegas is chiffonaded as thinly as possible. Indeed, these strands are so thin they look like grass; which prompted a British food writer, not so long ago, to write that “the Portuguese are so poor they actually make soup out of grass.”

There are two reasons for using other greens. First and foremost, of course, is that people use what is available. No galegas available? No problem. Use kale, which is common.  Both kale and collards (as well as other greens), too, are an attempt to replicate the taste and texture of the original. 

The recipe I’m be including a blending of this and that from several recipes I found in books and on line---which is right in the tradition of this hallmark soup.


(Portuguese Green Soup)

½  lb tender kale, collards, or other greens, finely shredded

4 medium floury potatoes                                                     

7 sm garlic cloves, smashed

2 tbls olive oil      

½ onion, chopped

Salt to taste          

6 cups water

6-8 thin slices chourico or linguinca sausage (1/2 sausage) or more to taste.

Cook the potatoes, garlic, and onion in salted water while preparing the greens. If desired, the sausage can be cooked in the same water. Shred the greens by stacking the leaves, rolling them, then chiffonading thinly.

With an emersion blender, puree the potatoes. Add the greens and olive oil. Cook until greens are tender.  Meanwhile, slice the sausage. Put one or two slices sausage in each serving bowl.  Top with broth.


( Chicken & Rice Soup)

Chicken & Rice Soup is ubiquitous to Portugal, with an incredible diversity ranging from thin, clear broth to ones so thick the spoon stands upright. But they’re all called Canja.

     This version, from the Azores, is more in the nature of a porridge. If it’s too thick for your taste, thin it out with some chicken stock.

A 2-lb chicken or 2 bone-in chicken breasts

1 onion, peeled, whole                                                           

1 large garlic clove, whole

1 cup rice              

Juice of half a lemon (2 tbls)

2 egg yolks           

Salt to taste 

In a large stockpot, over medium heat, put the chicken and enough water to fully cover. Add the whole onion and garlic. Cook for about 40 minutes, checking the water level and adding more if needed. Remove the chicken and aromatics from the stock, add the rice, and stir.

While the rice is cooking, discard the aromatics, and shred or chop the chicken into small pieces. Put back in pot, and stir well. Cook, stirring frequently, until rice is done.

In a separate bowl, beat together the egg yolks and lemon juice. Just before rice is cooked, temper the egg with a little of the brown. Pour the tempered eggs into the soup and stir, allowing the broth to become a little thicker. Stir a few minutes, then taste for salt.

Serve in bowls with lemon wedges on the side and crusty bread.


(Kidney Bean with Pumpkin Soup)

Bean soups are very popular in Portugal, reflecting, in part, their love of legumes. Although this one calls for kidney beans, other versions are based on other types of dried beans, including broad beans (favas) and white beans.

     Because I used butternut squash as the pumpkin, I left out the optional sweet potato, fearing the soup might be too sweet.


2 tbls olive oil      

½ cup finely chopped onion

½ cup chopped, peeled tomatoes                                           

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tsp sweet paprika                                                                

½ tsp cinnamon

1 bay leaf             

6 cups water or as needed

3 cups cooked kidney beans                                                  

1 cup diced pumpkin

1 peeled, diced sweet potato (op)                                         

½ cup small pasta, i.e., orzo

½ tsp salt or to taste                                                               

¼ tsp pepper or to taste

In a 4-qt soup pot, heat the olive oil. Toss in the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, paprika, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for about ten minutes over medium heat.

Pour in the water. At this point, either puree the beans using a food mill to hold back the skins or leave the beans whole,* and add them to the pot

Add the diced pumpkin and sweet potato. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are nearly fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Toss in the small pasta, stir in the salt and pepper, and continue cooking for 10 minutes more, until the pasta is cooked. Alternatively, cook the pasta in a separate pan, drain, and add to soup.

*Or partially puree with immersion blender.


(Shrimp and Mussel Chowder0

Here we have a translation issue, because, technically this is not a chowder, as it lacks potatoes. Nor is it the kind of thick soup we think of when “chowder” is mentioned. What it is, is delicious!

1 ½ lb shrimp in the shell                                                       

1 ½ lbs mussels

1 large onion, chopped                                         

2 tbls butter

4 hard-boiled eggs                                               

½ cup white wine 

2 tbls flour            

3 ½ oz cream

1 tsp paprika         

3 peppercorns

Salt & pepper to taste

Prepare a pan with enough water to cover the shellfish and add the wine, paprika, peppercorns, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil. Cover. After 3-4 minutes remove from the heat and strain, reserving the stock. Discard any unopened mussels and remove the flesh from the others. Peel and clean the shrimp. Reserve the shellfish.

Crush the shrimp shells to extract their juice and use the stock to wash them. Strain through a fine sieve.

Bring the stock to boil with the onion, and simmer 8-10 minutes. Add the flour (made into a paste with the water), stir well, and boil to thicken. Add more water if needed, taste for salt, add the shellfish, reheat, and serve garnished with the boiled eggs cut into small dice, and with little “islands” of cream floating in the middle.


( Chickpea Soup)

Chickpeas were introduced to Iberia by the Moors, and swept the peninsula. They are very popular, in all sorts of applications, in both Portugal and Spain. Chickpeas make a mild-tasting soup, and I added the white pepper and vinegar just to kick things up a notch.  If you use turnip greens, you probably can omit them 

12 oz (2 cups) dried chickpeas    

11 oz tender turnip tops, spinach, or watercress                    

2 med onions, chopped                                                               

2 garlic cloves, chopped                                                         

Salt & white pepper to taste

1-2 tbls Sherry vinegar

Soak the chickpeas overnight and cook them with the onion and garlic in 1 ½ pints boiling water until tender. Puree the peas and sieve them if desired to assure a very smooth blend. Put aside.

Meanwhile, cook the chosen greens in a minimum of water. Mix, with their liquor, with the puree, season, and add a little more water if necessary.

Variation: Omit the greens and add 4 ounces boiled rice. Mix well.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 30 January 2019 at 11:29
An excellent selection, Brook -

The Caldo Verde and the Canja would be the first two that I would try; but the I see the Sopa de Camarao de Mexihoes, and would love to give that a try.

Honestly, they all look great ~

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 04 February 2019 at 03:34

With the possible exception of the Republic of Georgia, I don’t know of another culinary culture as bread-centric as Portugal.  There are, literally, dozens of bread types, both regional and national in scopre. Add in the variations on themes, and there’s no telling how many breads can be found in that small country.

In addition to eating bread, as such, at practically every meal, leftovers do not go to waste. Bread is used as a main ingredient in other dishes as well, ranging from the famed accordas---so-called “dry” soups, which use a bread base to which other ingredients are added---to main dishes, as we’ll see later on in this series. 

Being a bread person, myself, you can see how Portuguese cuisine resonates with me.

One thing to be aware of: In general, published Portuguese dough recipes tend to be on the slack side. So be prepared to adjust the flour quantities, especially if your intent is to make free-standing breads.  Even then, the final dough should be slightly on the sticky side.

Here is just a small representation of the many breads of Portugal:


(Portuguese Sweet Bread)

Sweet bread is ubiquitous to Portuguese people, whether in the homeland or in places they colonized.  When Portuguese sailors stopped in what is now the Hawaiian islands, during the Age of Discovery, the native people where so impressed with it they adopted it as their own. What is now known as Hawaiian Bread throughout North America is, indeed, Portuguese Sweet Bread.

     Disclaimer: Nobody in my family cares for it. To our tastes, the bread is far too sweet, and the texture too soft. The sugar content can be incredible, with recipes calling for as much as three cups of sugar.  So I actually thought of skipping it here.  Then, in Greg Patent’s “A Baker’s Odyssey,” I found a recipe more to our taste.  With only a half-cup of sugar, and a firmer crumb, it’s more in line with the sorts of bread we enjoy.

For the sponge:

½ cup bread flour

2 tsp instant yeast

½ cup water

For the dough:

6 tbls butter at room temperature

½ cup sugar

Zest of one lemon

1 tsp salt

3 large eggs at room temperature

½ cup milk, at room temperature

3 ½ cups bread flour, as needed

1 egg wash for glaze

Make the sponge the night before. Whisk the flour and yeast together in a small bowl. Add the water and whisk to make a smooth, pancake-like batter. Cover the bowl with plastic film and let stand at room temperature 8-12 hours, during which time the sponge will rise to about triple its volume, then collapse back into a bubbly mass.

Make the dough. Combine the butter, sugar, zest, and salt in the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed with the paddle, 3-4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. The batter will look curdled, which is fine.  Stir in the sponge and milk. Add 2 ½ cups of flour and beat on low speed. Increase speed to medium and beat five minutes or until begins to mass on the beater. Switch to the dough hook. Add ¾ cup flour and knead for about five minutes until the dough is smooth, soft, and just a bit sticky.  Sprinkle two tablespoons of the remaining flour on a work surface and scrape the dough onto it. Knead for about two minutes to incorporate the flour to make a very smooth, soft, supple dough that may be slightly tacky. If it is too wet, knead in the remaining two tablespoons flour or, if necessary, a bit more.

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until almost tripled in size, about two hours.

Place dough on a work surface and pat gently into a rectangle about an inch thick. Divide dough in half and shape each into a ball. Transfer to two lightly oiled 9-inch cake pans, seam sides down. Cover and let rise until slightly more than doubled in size, about two hours.  The sides of the balls should be about an inch from the pan sides.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Brush the loaves with the egg wash. Bake about 50 minutes until loaves are a deep, dark brown and cooked through. Remove pans from oven and let cool on wire racks for five minutes. Use a wide metal spatula to remove loaves from pans and set on wire racks to cool completely.


(Bread Rolls)

If there’s such a thing as a national bread in Portugal, papo secos would be it. These rolls are made everywhere, and eaten at all hours of the day; although they are most popular as breakfast rolls.

     There are numerous recipes for papo secos, with the following being one of the more simpler versions:

5 cups all-purpose flour

3 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

1 envelope (2 tsp) instant yeast

1 ½ cups lukewarm water

1 egg white or milk for brushing

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast.  Add the water until dough forms a ball. Knead for a few minutes.  Transfer to an oiled bowl and set aside to rise until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Punch down the dough and knead 10 minutes by hand or five minutes by machine, until dough feels smooth. Divide into 10 evenly sized balls. Shape them and place on parchment-lined sheet pans. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Brush the rolls with the egg white or milk. Bake 30 minutes until lightly browned and they sound hollow when bottoms are thumped.

Transfer to wire racks to cool.


(Madeiran Corn Bread)

In my bread primer ( I included a recipe for Broa de Milho, a yeasted corn bread that originated in northern Portugal that quickly became a national favorite. On Madeira they took it a step further, and added sweet potato to the mix, resulting in a brightly colored bread with a richer flavor.

     Depending on the moisture content of the potato, you may have to play around with the flours to achieve the proper dough. Even so, this is a slack dough that makes low-risen loaf, sort of a cross between a flatbread and a regular loaf.

1 medium sweet potato

1 ½-2 cups water

2 ½ cups corn meal

2 ½ cups bread flour

4 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 ½ tsp salt

Bring water and sweet potato to boil. Reduce the heat and cook until the potato is very tender, nearly falling apart, about 25 minutes. Reserve two cups of the water, and set the potato in a sieve and let drain any excess water, about a half hour.  Peel the potato and puree the flesh with a ricer or masher until fairly smooth, then press through a sieve to remove any remaining lumps. There should be about one cup.

Put the corn meal in a medium bowl. Pour in one cup of the potato water (plain water can sub), reheated if necessary, over and around the flour. Using a wooden spoon, quickly mix until it resembles cooked mashed potatoes, adding a bit more water if necessary. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes.

 Put ¼ cup of the warm potato water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water, then stir in the sugar. Cover and let stand ten minutes to proof.

Pour the bread flour into a large bowl. Mix in the salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in 1 cup of the pureed potato, the corn flour mash, and the yeast, incorporating the ingredients until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and a medium dough is formed. Knead 10 minutes by hand or five minutes by mixer. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down and shape into one large or two medium balls. Cover and let rise again until almost double in bulk, 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Make a single slash across top of loaves. Bake 30-35 minutes until bread makes a hollow sound when thumped. Transfer to wire racks to cool.





But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 04 February 2019 at 15:21

Caldo Gallego  /  Caldo Verde ..  

Galician  Grelos are a leaf, that resemble turnip leaves ( they are indigenious to this region ). 

They are common in both Galicia, northwestern Spain, and in Northern Portugual.  

They have their own distinct flavor and are nothing like spinach or collards.  Much lighter and have an uncultivated or wild aroma and taste. 

I have had this soup on many a cold day for lunch.  

The Caldo Verde or Gallego, I have had uncountable times in 25 years,    is commonly  prepared with a ham hock and fresh sausage in both Galicia and Northern Portugal, as well as many major cities in Spain & Portugal.  

Thank you for posting.   The Mozambique Prawns, are a lovely !!!  

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 04 February 2019 at 18:18
True, Margi. Shrimp Mozambique is lovely, for those who like the heat.  Although there are minor variations, the dish is essencially Shrimp Piri Piri---that blow-off-the-roof-of-your mouth condiment from south Africa.

Of interest is the fact the dish did not evolve. It was adopted, whole hog, by Portuguese colonists, and brought home in its original form.  Not too often something like that happens in the culinary world. 

Of the petiscos I presented, though, I'd have to say my favorite is the salt-cod croquettes. I could eat them all day, and not get my fill. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 06 February 2019 at 14:59
Excellent selection of breads, Brook; I once made Pão do Milho - without the sweet potato - and enjoyed it very much:

My wife is a big fan of the "Hawaiian Bread," and we have some with most of our holiday meals, in the form of dinner rolls. Wait until I tell her that they are actually Portuguese in origin!

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Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 06 February 2019 at 15:59

A truly exceptional array of récipes .. 

By the way the potatoes used in Caldo Gallego or  Caldo Verde are called Cachuelas.  They are not a very large potato, quite small as a matter of fact and have a  very very creamy  yellow interior .. 
They came from Peru during the 1500s and are practically indigenious to Galicia as they are not cultivated outside of Peru and Galicia.  They provide the thickness to the Caldo and tons of flavor.  

I go to Portugal yearly ( flight 30 minutes to Lisbon and  approx  45 - 55 minutes to Porto ) .. 

Shall be headed to Porto in April for holidays ..  and the Galician Islands, called Ciés.  

I shall ask about some authentic traditional récipes ..  

1 MORE THING:  Portugal is an Olive Oil producer and they use Evoo to  fry their croquettes. 

Croquettes,   are to my knowledge, not Portuguese in origin.  ( The filling is quite different from your récipe.  As they have limited grazing lands for cows & cattle, they do not produce much butter or cow products ).  

They are fish & shellfish eaters and they produce terrific goat cheeses and sheep cheeses . They import alot of dairy from Spain ..  And they also raise hogs for ham and pigs for porc cuts.   

I believe CROQUETTES  could be Indian (Goa) and / or Asian  or Mid Eastern.. ( THEY are like a dumpling type concoction though do not have similar characteristics or preparation. )  

They are prepared with  Bechamel and salt cod or  Iberian Aged and Acorn fed ham or Proscuitto in The Mediteranean !!   

They are very common in Spain as a Tapa and in Italy, cicchetti = tapa in Italiano.  

Have a wonderful 2019 ..  

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 07 February 2019 at 07:46

What people eat, in Portugal, is, to a great degree, determined by both the varied geography and climate, on one hand, and inheritance rules, on the other. 

Traditionally, land is divided among the children, each of whom, in turn, divides their land among their children.  Thus, with the exception of the fertile south, where large estates are more the norm, rural Portugal consists of numerous, rather small, holdings.  Combine that with the geography, and it explains what can be grown and gathered, and the many regional culinary differences.

Obviously, cattle raising is not suitable to most of the country, and beef is not very common. When it is eaten, it’s primarily in the form of steak.  Lamb (and goat), poultry, and particularly pork, however, figure very highly in the Portuguese diet. Pork is utilized both fresh, especially at the annual hog-killing time, and in the form of sausages and other cured meats.

It should go without saying, seafood reigns supreme, on the mainland as well as the islands. With the exception of salt-cod---a national mania---seafood is always fresh. Y’all know the old saw: this fish was swimming two hours ago? That could sum-up the Portuguese approach. 

Game, too, plays a significant part of the Portuguese table.

When it comes to proteins, the Portuguese have a long history of making do with what’s available. As a result, meat is often used as a flavoring component, rather than a main ingredient. For the Portuguese housewife, a dish might include “meat” rather than a specific type. If meat is available, it gets tossed in the pot. If not, not.

In an almost Asian-like approach, the Portuguese also have a tendency to combine meat---particularly pork---with seafood. 

As I sampled Portuguese main dishes, I’ve tried to maintain that same sort of balance. But I’ll present them in no particular order, other than mixing up the proteins as much as possible.


(Rich Fish Stew)

Caldeiradas are layered fish stews, varying primarily with the type fish and seasonings used. Basically, they are a fisherman’s dish, made with the catch of the day.  What makes this one “rich” is the use of several different fishes.  At least three are called for.  I used equal parts of cod, halibut, and salmon.

     It’s important that there be more fish than potatoes by volume. So don’t be surprised at the apparent imbalance.

3 lbs mixed fish in equal portions                                          

1 ½ lbs ripe tomatoes, cleaned and chopped                         

4 med onions, sliced thinly                                                             

1 lb potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced                                      

2 garlic cloves, sliced

4 fluid oz olive oil

3 springs parsley, chopped

3 sprigs cilantro, chopped                                                      

2 bay leaves

1 green pepper, chopped (optional)                                       

3 tbls dry white wine, or 1 tbls                                              

Salt and pepper to taste                                   

3 tbls dry white wine or 1 tbls white wine vinegar

Clean fish and cut in pieces 1 ½-2-inches. They shouldn’t be too small.  Have all other ingredients ready.

Use a roomy casserole with a thick base, to prevent sticking. Put half the oil in first and assemble alternate layers, starting with the onions, then tomatoes, potatoes, fish, sprinklings of salt and seasonings, etc., leaving the most fragile fish for the top layer. Sprinkle a bit more salt, add the wine or vinegar, the rest of the oil, and enough water to barely cover.

Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmering to avoid burning. Do not stir but merely shake the pan now and then.  Cook 25 minutes. The potatoes should be very thinly sliced, to make sure they will be tender. Serve in the same pan, after tasting for salt.

There will be considerable liquid left over. Strain it and use for stock.


(St. Michael Island Style Spicy Beef Steak)

Tourists in the Azores, particularly on St. Michael Island, often come away with the idea that island food is bland. This tends to be true for restaurant food. But the natives love spicy food, as this dish reflects.

     “Hot sauce” would be either piri-piri, or the ubiquitous “pimento moida” (crushed chili paste) popular throughout the country. I opted for the latter. But any hot sauce you prefer will do. Adjust it to your own taste. 2 steaks like rib eye or t-bone                                                

Salt & pepper to taste

4 tbls butter          

4 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1 ½ tsp flour         

½ cup red wine

1 tbls hot sauce or to taste

Season one side of the steaks with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet until hot but not burning. Add the steaks, seasoned side down. Season the tops with salt and pepper.

Sear the steaks for 4-5 minutes per side over medium-high heat, to your preference. Remove to a platter and keep warm.

Add the garlic to the pan, giving it a turn in the pan drippings. As the garlic becomes slightly aromatic, about 30 seconds, stir in the flour to form a roux. Whisk in the wine and hot sauce, then simmer for a minutes over medium-low heat, slightly reducing the sauce by about one third. Return the steaks to heat through, turning to coat in the sauce, for about a minute.

Transfer the steaks to serving dishes and drizzle the sauce over them. Serve with vegetables and rice or potatoes and extra sauce on the side.


(Clam and Chourico-Stuffed Pork)

Here we have an example of how the Portuguese combine pork and seafood.  I used canned clams (a 10-ounce can was just right), which didn’t provide enough liquid, so I supplemented it with bottled clam juice.

     If the filling is too loose, add some bread crumbs to stiffen it up.

     As is often the case, there was far more filling than needed. No problem. I used it to make risolles.

4 tbls butter, divided use                                                       

2 tbls olive oil

½ cup finely chopped scallion                                               

4 oz chourico, case removed and coarsely chopped              

3 garlic cloves, minced, divided use                                             

1 cup firmly packed bread cubes                                           

¼ cup milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten                                                             

1 cup chopped clams, juice reserved

4 tbls finely chopped cilantro                                                         

1 tsp salt               

1 tsp white or black pepper                                                    

3 lb center cut pork loin, butterflied                                      

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 cup reserved clam juice                                                       

1 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil. Toss in the scallion and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Mix in the chopped sausage and half the garlic. Cook 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.

In another bowl, moisten the bread with the milk, then add to the scallions and sausage. Stir in the eggs, clams, and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro. Sprinkle in ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Spread the filling lengthwise over half the roast to within 1 inch around the edges. Fold the other half over or roll it starting from the filling side. Tie the roast together so that the long edges meet.

Mix the remaining garlic, salt, pepper, cilantro and nutmeg into a paste and rub over the roast. Place seasoned meat in a roasting pan. Melt remaining butter and drizzle over the roast.

Combine the clam juice and wine and pour around the roast. Basting occasionally with the pan juices, roast for about an hour to 1 ¼ hours until meat is fork tender and internal temperature reaches 150F. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Place slices of the pork on a serving platter and ladle any pan juices over.


(Garlic-Nailed Steak or Chicken)

As noted, the Portuguese are masters of making do with what’s available. This dish originated as a steak preparation. But, because beef isn’t all that common (not to mention expensive), enterprising Portuguese cooks adapted it to chicken, which is how I made it.

2 rib-eye steaks or 2 chicken breasts

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced                                                  

Kosher salt as needed

4 tbls butter, divided use                                                       

1 large onion, sliced thin

½ cup white wine

¼ tsp crushed pepper flakes

Pinch cumin         

1 tbls finely chopped parsley

Place the meat on a cutting board and lay the slices of garlic on one side. Using a mallet, “nail” the garlic into the meat by pounding the slices. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat on the opposite side, and let rest at room temperature 30 minutes.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the meat in the butter, turning once and cooking the other side.  Make a small cut in the meat to check doneness. Set aside and keep warm.

In the same skillet, over medium heat, melt the remaining butter. Add the onions and saute until golden. Transfer the onions to the dish holding the meat. Pour the wine into the skillet. Scrape up the brown bits in the pan. Raise the heat to medium high and reduce the sauce by half. Reduce heat to medium low.

Season the wine sauce with the pepper flakes, cumin, and half the parsley. Adjust salt and pepper. Return the meat and onions to the sauce and heat through, about a minutes. Serve the meat and onions drizzled with the sauce.

Next time we’ll look at additional main dishes. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 07 February 2019 at 09:28
These are some foods I would really like Brook - I'd be happy to try any of them.

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 07 February 2019 at 14:22
Of that group, Ron, I'd start with the stuffed pork. Absolutely delicious. And right up your ally. But they're all good. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 09 February 2019 at 12:19

The fish stew ( there are 365 at least ) is lovely.  

Thanks for posting it ..  

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 12 February 2019 at 07:09
Yes, it is, Margi.

I wish I could have included eel---which is a common element in such stews. Unfortunately, eel is hen's teeth around here, so I had to forego it. Alas!

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 12 February 2019 at 07:10

Here are some additional Portuguese main dishes.  As above, I’ve chosen them to show a diversity of proteins.


(Fried Wine and Garlic Marinated Squid)

While I love fried squid, I’m not, usually, a fan of it heavily breaded. And I’ve never before used a three-bowl fry station for them. This is an exception. The squid comes out tender and juicy, with a nice crunch from the breading.

     For the hot sauce in the marinade I used pimento moida, the ubiquitous crushed hot pepper paste found throughout Portugal. But any hot sauce will do.

1 lb cleaned squid cut crosswise in 1-inch rings

¾ cup white wine 

½ cup cilantro or parsley, chopped fine                                 

¼ cup wine vinegar                                                                     

¼ cup chopped onion                                                             

2 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely

1 tsp hot sauce     

1 tsp salt or to taste

¼ tsp white pepper or to taste                                                

1-2 cups white flour or as needed

2 eggs, lightly beaten                                                             

1-2 cups bread crumbs

Corn or grapeseed oil as needed

In a non-reactive bowl, combine the squid, wine, cilantro, vinegar, onion, garlic, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Cover and marinate the squid for about 30 minutes.

Reserving the marinade, strain out the squid in a separate dish.

Set up a three-bowl breading station with the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Heat 4-5 inches of oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat, to 350F.  Lightly coat the squid in flour, shaking off the excess. Next, dip the squid into beaten egg, then coat with breadcrumbs.  Working in batches, fry the squid no more than 2 minutes. Do not overcook, or they’ll be rubbery.

Pour the reserved marinade into a small pot. Reduce slightly over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Serve on the side or drizzle over the fried squid. Serve hot sauce on the side.


(Alentejo-Style Meatballs with White Beans)

Even though Portugal is Mediterranean in nature, meatballs are not commonly prepared. This exception, from the Alentejo region, is a bit complex to make, but the results are rewarding. Even people who profess not to like lamb enjoy it.

For the sauce:       

¼ cup olive oil

1 onion, coarsely chopped (1 cup)

2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped                                           

1 tsp sweet paprika

½ cup finely chopped cilantro                                               

1 bay leaf

¼ cup white wine

1 ½ cups peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes or 14 oz can tomatoes

2 cups rough-cut Yukon gold potatoes                                  

1 cup water or as needed

For the meatballs: 

1 lb ground lamb  

Juice of ½ lemon (2 tbls)

2 tbls white wine  

3 eggs, lightly beaten

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped                                              

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper                                                                 

4 thick slices stale bread, crusts removed                              

½ cup milk

1 cup flour

Olive oil as needed

For assembly:        

2 cups precooked or canned white kidney beans, undrained

Salt to taste

Make the sauce:  In a 4-5 quart pot, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Toss in the onion and sauté until lightly golden. Add the garlic, paprika, ¼ cup of the cilantro, and the bay leaf. When garlic is aromatic, pour in the wine. Simmer for 1 minute.

Mix in the tomatoes, stir, cover, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes. Pour in enough cold water to barely cover the potatoes. Recover and let simmer over medium low heat until potatoes are nearly fork tender, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Make the meatballs:  In a large bowl, combine the lamb, lemon juice, white wine, eggs, garlic, salt and pepper. Moisten the bread with the milk, squeeze out excess milk. Shred the bread into the lamb. Mix thoroughly.  Shape into balls the size of a golf ball, about 1 ½ inches. Roll them in the flour and fry them in the olive oil until brown on all sides. Drain.

Assemble: Add the meatballs to the reserved sauce along with the beans and remaining cilantro. Adjust seasoning. Cover and simmer about 25 minutes, until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.


(Slow-Cooked Chicken)

This dish is traditionally made in a clay pot, which is how I did it. I’m a great fan of cooking in clay, so this was right up my ally. If you don’t have one, don’t sweat it. Any heavy pot---whatever you normally use for braising---will work.

     Rather than a whole, broken-down chicken, I used thighs, because I happened to have them on hand. Worked like a charm!

4 oz smoked bacon, chopped                                     

5 tbls butter

1 tbls paprika        

1 lb small onion, halved

4 garlic cloves, smashed                                                         

1 bay leaf

¼  cup chopped cilantro                                                         

½ cup parsley, chopped

1 tbls salt or to taste                                                               

¼ tsp black pepper

4 lb chicken, left whole or cut in serving pieces

½ lb chourico, cut in 6 pieces                                                 

2 cuts white wine 

2 tbls tawny port

Heat the bacon in a heavy-bottomed pot or clay casserole over medium heat. As it starts to sweat and release its fat, mix in the butter, paprika and halved onions, and sauté the onions until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Toss in the garlic, bay leaf, cilantro, ¼ cup parsley, salt and pepper.

Add the chicken and sausage pieces, give everything a turn to coat, and let the chicken brown a bit to give is some color, 5-10 minutes. Pour the white wine over, stir and cover tightly. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly with an occasional stir. After 30 minutes, place the cover slightly ajar and continue to slowly simmer until the meat is just about falling off the bone. Add the port wine, stir to blend and simmer for 1 minute. Discard the bay leaf.

Serve with the remaining ¼ cup parsley over the top and roasted potatoes and green beans on the side.   


(Roast Pork Ribs with Polenta)

Milhos, popular throughout the country, is merely the Portuguese version of polenta. Note the cooking time, which concerned me, at first, because it seems rather short. But it worked!

     A note about the size of the ribs, which is ambiguous in the recipe. It actually refers to the width of the ribs. This makes sense if you’re using baby backs. Otherwise, the only way to do it is to waste a lot of the meat.

     I used St. Louis style (often marketed simply as “back ribs”) and it worked just fine. If you want, cutting each rib in half, or even thirds, is a viable approach as well.    

2 ½-3 lbs pork ribs cut in ¾-inch pieces                                 

3 garlic cloves, chopped                                                        

4 cups olive oil

2 bay leaves          

Salt to taste

For the milhos:     

¼ cup olive oil      

1 onion, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, peeled & cut in 8ths                                           

4+ cups chicken stock or water

2 ¼ cups coarse cornmeal                                                           r

Preheat the oven to 275f.  Place the meat on a baking tray or in a shallow, oven-proof dish about 2” deep. Sprinkle with salt, add the garlic and bay leaves, then pour over the olive oil, and bake about 2 hours.

Towards the end of the baking time, prepare the milhos. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes, until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes.

Add a generous 2 cups of the stock or water and bring to a boil. Sprinkle in the cornmeal, whisking constantly. As the mixture starts to thicken, add the remaining stock. Season to taste with salt. Simmer for about 3 minutes until creamy.

Remove the meat from the pan, place on a dish and serve immediately, handing out the milhos separately at the table.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 12 February 2019 at 10:59

Eel is scrumptuous ..  Unfortunately the Price tag is quite prohibitive and most of it ( wild and fresh) is sold to Japanese Restaurants at a Price of course !!!    

So, squid shall do !!  

Shall give this a definite on list.  Need to go check what my fish monger has fresh & wild ..

Some rock fish from Cádiz should be lovely too ..  Pairs well with squid ..  or jumbo prawns !!!  

I use Ecological  Chick Pea Flour from Cádiz, which is un-porous and does not permit the oil to enter the product and GREAT RESULTS  !!!  Tender interiors and Crispy melt in mouth exteriors and alot healthier than the White flour.

How do you prepare your hot sauce  ????????????????????

Take care, truly lovely récipe !!!

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 12 February 2019 at 12:10
Although I have a recipe for it, Margi, I actually just buy it in jars.  If you want, I'll dig out the recipe and post it.

I'd pay the price for eel, if I could get it at all. Which, other than canned, I can't.  

When fried correctly, food does not absorb oil. Doesn't matter what "breading" you use, or even if you add the item naked.  The secret is getting the oil hot enough. 350F is the accepted lowest temperature. Personally, I work a little higher, especially with things like squid, so I can keep them from overcooking. I shoot for no more than 90 seconds. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 13 February 2019 at 08:35

Like Portuguese fish stews of all types.  Surely very common all over the long Atlantic Coastline of Portugal and especially in Lisbon and the north, where winters are cold and wet.   

Copied this one too ..  

Thank you for posting.  

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 13 February 2019 at 08:38

Thank you for the heating of oil tip ..  Good advice.

Yes, do please post the eel récipe if you can fine it .. 

I have a Portuguese cook book of their regional dishes, if I can find it in the Antique Trunk !!!  It is in Spanish actually !!  

I should post up a couple of the ones that you have not that could be of interest.  It has excellent historical background notes !!

Have a lovely day.   

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 13 February 2019 at 08:43
Sure thing, Margi. Post away.  The more input on one of these explorations the better.

Meanwhile, I'll dig up the chili paste recipe and type it up.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 13 February 2019 at 15:39

Yes, please see if you can locate the Eel récipe .. 

Thanks  !!

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 13 February 2019 at 15:40

Thanks for the chili salsa récipe !!

This would be wonderful .. 

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 13 February 2019 at 22:39
re: eel. It's not a specific recipe, Margi. Just a possible part of the stew.

One trick when using multiple species is to layer the toughest fish first, and finish with the most delicate at the top. So, if I had eel to include, I would use it as the first layer, then build from there. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 14 February 2019 at 06:54

At Margi’s request, here is the procedure for making pimento moidas (hot chili paste). As you can see, it’s a time-consuming and complex process, which is why I buy mine ready made in jars.

For starters, you have to make salted peppers.  I would start with only a pound or two of chilies, to see how it works out for you. Later on you can make large batches if you desire.

It might be a good idea to wear rubber cloves and eye protection when working with these chilies. And, when grinding them, a face mask would not be out of order. Traditionally, a hand-grinder was used. Nowadays, a food processor, using the pulse mode, is more common.

Hot, red finger peppers, 6-8 inches long

Coarse sea salt

Wash the peppers well. Divide in half, lengthwise, and remove all the seeds. Layer them in a container, covering each layer generously with salt. Cover and set aside in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks. If some of the peppers seem to darken, don’t worry about it. The salt preserves them.

When the peppers are ready, grind them to the desired consistency. Transfer the peppers and their juices to canning jars, filled almost to the top. Pour a layer of olive oil over them, to fill the jars.  Put on the caps, and store in a cool, dark place. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: Hoser
Date Posted: 14 February 2019 at 13:25
Am enlightening read on the price of eels:
$1,300 per pound last year! -

And yet if I go to the bait shop in Quonachontaug, I can get them for 8.99 per pound....different species perhaps?

Go with your food!

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 14 February 2019 at 15:22

In the Mediterranean, Spain, Southern France & Italy, there are several types of Eel:

1)  Common Eel -  Anguilla -  Family  Anguillidae.  This eel is predominately found in Commacchio, Italy,  The Albufera of Valencia and Portugal.  

2)  Elver Eel - Angula -  This variety is found in The Basque Country and it is served with tiny Chili Peppers, known as Esplette, a lovely red chili pepper.

3)  The Conger Eel -  Family Congridae.   This species is common in Galicia, in northwestern Spain. 
It is called Congrio or Congro in Galician and is quite large and found in rocky crevices  and ship wrecks. 

4)  Moray Eel:   The Muraenidae Family.  This variety is found in Senegal and Italy.  It has a snake appearance and The Ancient Romans considered it a delicacy and dates back  2,000 years.  It is called Morena in Spanish and Moreira in Portuguese.    Muraena Helena in Latin. 

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 14 February 2019 at 15:26


That is a pretty hefty Price tag in Japan.  I believe that has to possibly be due to importing, and also the price the Japanese pay their distributors  and so they serve it in their best restaurants and charge an arm and a leg ..

I am not sure if eel is commonly found in Japan  but quite possible as they have alot of islands.  


Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 14 February 2019 at 18:08
Dave, keep in mind those are baby eels---which is a different, highly specialized market. Those things are really small, often looking like short lengths of string, and are eaten whole. 

Margi, I don't think elvers are a separate species. The word "elver" normally applies to young eels, which would include those baby eels.  I have no idea when one of them stops being an elver and becomes just an eel.

It's sort of like the difference between lamb and mutton.  

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 15 February 2019 at 07:09

Here are a few more main dishes, to show the diversity of Portuguese ingredients and techniques:


(Salt Cod Pancakes)

With minor variations, this batter-fried fish dish found all over Portugal. The word “pancake” in the title presumably comes from the pancake batter-like consistency of the breading.

     Frankly, this is the only Portuguese dish we’ve tried that we weren’t 100% happy with. Despite soaking for two days, the fish remained particularly salty.  But that might have been the package we used?

     Pataniscas de Bacalhau is typically served with juicy cabbage rice, which we’ll examine when we look at vegetables and sides.

1 lb soaked salt cod                                                               

1 tbls lemon juice

2 cups milk           

1 egg                    

4 tsp olive oil        

1 cup all-purpose flour                                                           

1 small onion, chopped                                                          

1 small bunch parsley, chopped                                            

Oil for deep frying

Cut fish into serving sized portions. Mix together 1 ¼ cups milk and the lemon juice and pour over the fish. Let marinate 30 minutes. Beat the egg with the olive oil in a bowl. Stir in the flour, onion, parsley and enough remaining milk to make a medium-thick paste.

Heat the oil to 350F. Remove the fish from the marinade and pass them through the paste to coat. Add the hot oil and deep-fry 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Drain and serve.


(Portuguese Style Boiled Meat and Veggies)

The Portuguese version of a New England boiled dinner, this popular dish includes several types of meat and sausages, as well as veggies.  Soaked chickpeas are often included as well. If you go that route, add them with the meat because they take a while to cook.

     Morcela is a Portuguese blood sausage. If you can’t find it, just leave it out. 

1 lb stewing beef  

1 lb chicken

12 oz spare ribs    

4-5 oz morcela

5 oz chourico        

2 flour sausages, or sub 4-5 oz smoked bacon, diced            

1 pig’s ear (optional)                                                                  

1 cabbage             

8 medium carrots

8 medium potatoes                                                                 

4 medium turnips

10 oz rice              

Salt to taste

In a very roomy saucepan, cook the meat in enough water to cover and add a little salt. Skim as needed. Cook until meat is tender. Set meat aside and cook all the vegetables at the same time in the same water. Cut them in big chunks and boil until tender, 25-30 minutes. Remove enough stock from pan (you may have to add more water) to cook the rice. When everything is cooked, return the meat and vegetables to the stock to reheat. While you are doing this, dry the rice in the oven at 375F for 3-5 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.

To serve, make a mound of rice in a dish and surround with the sausages, cut in thick slices. Put the meat and vegetables in a tureen with a little of the stock to keep them moist. Serve at once.


(Portuguese Braised Pork with Garlic and Onion Sauce)

Easy enough to make for a family meal, I wouldn’t hesitate to serve this dish at a sit-down dinner party. It puts me in mind of an up-scale version of Southern Smothered Pork.


3 lb center-cut pork loin                                                         

1 tbls salt

½ tsp white pepper                                                                 

2 garlic cloves, smashed

2 tbls butter          

1 bay leaf

3 cups milk, as needed                                                          

1 recipe onion sauce:

2 tbls butter          

1 med onion, sliced

2 tbls cornstarch   

2 tbls water

½ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350F.

Season the roast all over with the salt and pepper. Put the meat in a rectangular roasting pan with the garlic, butter and bay leaf. Pour in enough milk to almost cover the meat about ¾ of the way up the side of the roast.

Put the pan in in the oven. Periodically, as the top of the roast browns, turn the meat, so that the browned part becomes submerged in milk. Continue doing this, and, eventually, the whole roast will be caramelized and the flavor will infuse the milk. Continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 150F, about 1 ½-2 hours. Discard the bay leaf.

Transfer roast to a cutting board, cover, and let rest while making the onion sauce.

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until richly golden, 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium.

Measure out and pour the milk from the roasting pan into the onions, adding more milk if needed, to make 2 cups. Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch, nutmeg, and water together, then stir in the milk. Bring the milk to a high simmer and continue stirring until the milk becomes the consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes.

Slice the pork into serving pieces and transfer to a serving platter. Ladle some of the sauce over, and serve with extra sauce on the side. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 18 February 2019 at 12:58

Answering Margi’s request for the hot chili paste recipe reminded me that there are numerous condiments and flavoring agents that make Portuguese cookery what it is.

     Many of these are regional in nature, and, even, family to family. For instance, you’ll find pineapple preserves in the Azores, because pineapples are grown there. Even so, there are several, like the hot chili paste, that are national in scope.

     Here are just a few that I found intriguing:



(Portuguese Sweet Pepper Paste)

Sweet pepper paste is ubiquitous to Portugal. Just as Turkish housewives throw a tomato into every pot, many Portuguese housewives (and professional cooks) believe a spoonful or three of this condiment improves any dish. 

     Massa de Pimentao, in fact, is often used to ramp up the flavor of seasonings, rubs, and the like, or as part of other sauces, as well as being used straight on. We’ll see this later on when we get into vegetables and side dishes

4 very large red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and quartered

5 lbs kosher salt (do not use table- or canning-salt. They are too fine)

½ cup olive oil

You’ll also need a colander with small holes, or a regular colander lined with cheesecloth.

Set the colander on the bottom of a large, nonreactive pan with sides at least an inch high. Pour in a ¾-1-inch layer of salt to create a base. Do not move the colander once you’ve set it in place and added the salt.

Arrange a layer of peppers on the salt, cut side down, pressing them into the salt. Be sure to cut any curled piece of pepper to straighten it, or mold could grow in the curl.

Pour a ½-1-inch layer of salt over the layer of peppers; repeat with the remaining peppers and top with a final layer of salt. Cover with wax paper, then top with a heavy plate or two to weight it down. Put a small item under the pan to tilt is so the pepper juices will run away from the colander. Set the pan aside on your counter for up to 4 days to allow the juices to drain from the peppers and run into the bottom pan.  After the third day, the peppers will be thinner, and the amount of water draining will have stopped.

Wipe off the excess salt (do not rinse) and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 15 or 20 seconds to a medium texture, not a smooth puree. A meat grinder can also be used for this.

Fill two sterilized half-pint jars with the peppers, leaving about an inch of headspace. Pour in a half-inch layer of olive oil. Place a piece of wax paper over the opening and close the jar tightly.

Massa de pimentao will keep at least six months in the fridge. Just be sure to renew the oil level after each use.


(Portuguese Garlic Cream Sauce with Cilantro)

 Dishes like fishcakes and seafood turnovers are traditionally served without sauces in Portugal. But many households believe they cry out for dipping sauces. My home can be numbered among them. Strictly speaking, this is not a condiment. But I was happy to find it, as it gave me an authentic sauce to use with those dishes.

2 tbls butter

1 tbls flour

3 garlic cloves, bruised

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbls chopped cilantro or parsley

1 ½ tsp chili pepper paste

1 tsp lemon juice

¼-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp ground white pepper

¼ tsp ground cumin (optional)

1 tsp salt

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook a minute. Add the garlic and cook just until the garlic is really aromatic but not colored, about 30 seconds.

Gradually whisk in the cream and then add the cilantro, chili paste, lemon juice, mustard, pepper and cumin. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or so, until slightly reduced. Do not allow to boil. Season with salt if needed. Let stand. Remove the garlic cloves before using and serve the sauce warm or at room temperature.


(Portuguese Onion and Port Comfit)

This interesting condiment is an ideal accompaniment to cold and smoked meats, and, especially, game.  Although I haven’t, as yet, tried it with duck I’m anxious to do so, because it  seems to be an ideal match.

     It takes some time to prepare, but that’s all cooking-down time. The comfit keeps well in the fridge, or, keep one jar there and freeze the rest for later use.

10 medium onions, peeled and cut into fine rings

6 tbls olive oil

1 bottle Port

Salt and pepper to taste

Use a deep, thick bottomed pot. Place over the heat and, when warm, add the oil. When the oil is hot add the onion rings, turning them several times to coat with the oil, and fry very gently for about two hours, while adding the wine, little by little.

Season with salt and pepper and cook until you get a thick, jelly-compote-like dark mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Transfer to jars.  


(Portuguese Dry Spice Rub

Both dry and wet spice rubs are endemic to Portuguese cooking. But, whereas many countries have mixes immediately associated with them---Ras el Hanout comes immediately to mind---there is no “national” mix. Every cook has its own favored combination.  This one is typical of the Portuguese approach.

     BTW, the difference between wet and dry rubs is that dry rubs can be made ahead of time and stored, wet rubs are always prepared specifically for immediate use.

4 tsp paprika

3 tsp onion powder

2 tsp dried garlic

1 bay leaf, crumbled

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp granulated dried orange peel

½ tsp crushed dried chili pepper.

Mix all the ingredients together and store. When needed, take a spoonful or two of to use dry.

Note: You can leave out the garlic, then, just before use, crush in one or two garlic cloves, using  mortar and pestle. Only do this for a mixture to be used immediately.


But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 19 February 2019 at 10:36
Thanks Brook for two excellent installments. I am seeing many things I'd like to try, and then I recall that I've got several projects in the hopper as it is.

I will get to a few of these, however, as they all look good. I am particularly struck by that dry spice rub, and have all of the ingredients at this moment. I will certainly give that a go, when I can; I can easily see it on poultry or fish, but I'm tempted to try it on pork before anything else.

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 19 February 2019 at 11:05
I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work on pork, Ron. The flavors are all compatible.

Dried orange peel is available in Asian markets, and, I suppose, on-line? I make my own, and try to keep about a year's supply on hand. It's a little time consuming, because you want to remove as much of the white pith as possible before throwing the pieces in the dehydrator.  But, other than that, it's a straight-forward drying process.

The small amount needed in this recipe probably wouldn't take a whole orange. So preparing it shouldn't be a big deal. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 19 February 2019 at 11:28
I have some dried Valencia orange peel that should work pretty well for this; otherwise, it would be just as easy to get some going.

I'm pretty eager to try the rub - will look for an opportunity to do so!

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 20 February 2019 at 08:56
The dried Valencia should be perfect Ron.

Nice thing about it: if it's been dried and stored properly, it lasts about 2 days longer than forever.  

I keep it on hand primarily because I periodically make things like Chinese Orange Chicken.  Earlier this week I made it again, but, as an experiment, used fresh zest instead of dried peel.  I could detect no difference in the flavor. 

Although the rub is said to store well, I'm always leery about making large batches of any mix using ground spices.  Once ground, spice potency starts to decline.  At best, ground spices of any kind should be replaced annually. When mixing up spice blends, I make as much as I think I'll use up in no more than six months. 

This is not the same as keeping whole spices.  They do not go bad.  That's what made the spice trade possible in the first place.  Think about it: Some of those caravans were on the road for more than two years just getting to the trade centers.  Add in the distribution time, and it could be three or more years before they reached the consumer.  But it made no difference.  

Once the whole spices are broken or ground their essential oils start to evaporate.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 20 February 2019 at 10:33
Sounds about right, Brook - I tend to keep my spices longer than I should, and am going to have to schedule a clean-out of the spice cabinet, soon.

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Posted By: Hoser
Date Posted: 20 February 2019 at 12:11
Quote This is not the same as keeping whole spices.  They do not go bad.  That's what made the spice trade possible in the first place.  Think about it: Some of those caravans were on the road for more than two years just getting to the trade centers.  Add in the distribution time, and it could be three or more years before they reached the consumer.  But it made no difference.

Once the whole spices are broken or ground their essential oils start to evaporate.

Which is why I always purchase my spice in the whole form if possible. Black pepper, cloves, allspice, cinnamon and coriander are just a few ....grind them as you need them.

Go with your food!

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 20 February 2019 at 15:51

The anguilas ( tiny shoe string baby eels ) :  These are very common in the Basque Country served with dried red horn shaped chili peppers and many frozen fish companies package them as they are commonly served with eggs baked in cazuelas or sautéed with scrambled eggs, but NOT all brands are authentic eel ..  However, all are labelled !!  

Best to buy from a Fish Monger that you know and trust ..  

If wild, you can purchase live, and / or packaged frozen  shall say so .. 

If false, shall tell you the ingredients.  

These are okay but surely not like other varieties of wild  eel and definitely not the best quality. 

The best are served as Sashimi or Nigriri at Japanese restaurants or at Michelin Star Restaurants or top hotel venues.  

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 23 February 2019 at 07:58

When it comes to vegetables and side dishes, Portuguese cooks really shine. Veggies play an important role, and there is no lack of diversity. From roots to cole crops to grains and, especially, legumes, Portuguese cooks put a special slant to all their dishes.

Potatoes are an especial love. Whether roasted, boiled, mashed, fried, or baked, there’s always room for the lowly spud on Portuguese tables. Indeed, it’s likely the Portuguese are second only to the Irish in their love of potatoes.  Most often they are merely boiled, and served with a drizzle of flavorful sauce.

Legumes, both fresh and dried, run potatoes a close second, with fava beans most prevalent. But the Portuguese diet expands further than that, with peas, common beans, like kidneys, and even black-eyed peas playing a role.

Leafy greens are commonly found. Often merely sautéed, there are numerous dishes that put a uniquely Portuguese twist on them. Most cultures, for instance, have a form of stuffed cabbage rolls. Rather than the more common ground beef filling, the Portuguese take that idea and make kale rolls filled with pulled pork.

Wheat, as should be obvious in a bread-centric society, is an important grain. But rice is equally important. Rice, very often, is combined with other veggies and ingredients that produce dishes which aren’t quite pilafs, but which certainly go far beyond plain boiled rice. While enjoyed nationally, corn is more of a regional favorite, particularly in the northern reaches, and out on the islands.   

Here, in no particular order, are some of the vegetables and side-dishes we’ve enjoyed:


(Roasted Potatoes with Sweet Pepper Paste)

2 garlic cloves, halved                                                            

1 tsp paprika

1 scant tbls sweet pepper paste                                              

1 bay leaf

2 tbls finely chopped parsley                                                 

¼ tsp black pepper

2 tbls white wine  

2tbls olive oil

6 med-large potatoes, peeled

Preheat oven to 375F.

Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic with paprika, making a paste. Incorporate the pepper paste, crumbled bay leaf, parsley, black pepper and wine. Drizzle in the olive oil and mix to make a spreadable paste.

Pat the potatoes dry and cut them into quarters. Put the potatoes into a large bowl and add the seasoning paste. Turn to coat them in the paste. Transfer to a roasting or baking dish and cover with foil. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the potatoes, and continue to roast them for 30 minutes more, uncovered, until tender. Season with salt if needed.

Taking this a step further, Portuguese cooks, particularly in the Alentejo region, combine the sweet pepper paste with a tomato-based sauce to pour over boiled potatoes for an even more flavorful dish:


(Garlicy Tomato Sauce

¼ cup olive oil

10 garlic cloves, finely chopped

6 cups peeled, seeded, finely chopped ripe tomatoes

2 tsp sweet pepper paste

1 tsp chili pepper paste

½ tsp salt or to taste

3 tbls cider vinegar

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Toss in the garlic.

When the garlic becomes aromatic, but not colored, stir in the tomatoes, and pepper pastes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced to the point where you can draw a spoon across the bottom of the pan and the line nearly remains, about 30-35 minutes.

Season with salt and mix in the vinegar. Serve over boiled potatoes. 

As noted, the Portuguese aren’t content to just serve rice as a side dish. Instead, they spark it up with various additions.  Here are two versions:


(Tomato Rice)                                                                              

8 oz long grain rice                                                                 

1 med onion, chopped fine

2 med tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped

2 tbls olive oil       

Water (2 ½ x rice volume)

1 sprig parsley, chopped                                                        


Fry the onion in the oil until lightly caramelized, then add the tomatoes and parsley and cook agin for 5 minutes. Add the water, bring to boil, and add the rice and some salt. Simmer until tender (about 25 minutes) and taste for salt before serving.

You might have to add more water to keep the rice from scorching. Rice should not be too dry.


(Juicy Cabbage Rice)

½ tbls olive oil     

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped                                                          

1 ¼ cups risotto rice

1 small cabbage, shredded                                                    

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes, until the grains are coated with oil. Pour in 3 cups water and bring to boil. Add the cabbage and season with salt. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the rice is just tender.

I’m including this next recipe for no other reason than we fell in love with it. And, as you’ll see from the ingredients, it’s easy to run the changes on it, varying the flavor while maintaining the integrity of the dish. 


(Marinated Mushrooms)

14 oz mixed mushrooms (I used portobellas, oysters, and shiitakes in about equal amounts)          

2 tbls olive oil

7 oz raw ham, sausages and bacon, diced, alone or in combination

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped                                             

1-2 tbls white wine vinegar

3 tbls chopped parsley

Wipe mushrooms and cut or tear larger ones in half or quarters

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the meat cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon vinegar and cook 1 minute more.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley. Serve immediately, or, if serving cold, add the rest of the vinegar.

Next time we’ll look at more veggies and side dishes. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 26 February 2019 at 09:10
All look good, brook - but the Garlicky Tomato Sauce and Marinated Mushrooms really stand out, for me.

The list grows longer!

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 04 March 2019 at 09:55

Here are a few more Portuguese vegetable and side dishes. Notice how many of them include sausage, usually chourico or linguinca.  These are used in relatively small amounts, more as flavorings than as proteins per se.

 You’d think this would make these various dishes kind of samee-same. But such is not the case. The sausages highlight the flavors, but the main ingredients still shine through.


(Stewed Peas with Linguica Sausage)

1/4 cup olive oil     

2 oz salt pork in cubes (opt)

4 oz linguica in ¼ inch slices                                                 

1 small onion, chopped coarse

½ cup chopped, seeded tomatoes or 1 tbls tomato paste

1 tsp paprika         

1-2 garlic cloves, chopped coarse

1 bay leaf             

½ cup white wine

¼ cup parsley or cilantro, chopped fine                                

½-1/3 ground nutmeg or cumin                                             

3 cups frozen peas

1 tsp salt               

½ tsp pepper

4-6 eggs (1 per person)

Heat the oil in a 2 ½ quart saucepan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the salt pork and lightly brown, rendering the fat, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the sausage and onion. When the sausage start taking on some color, about 2-3 minutes, add the tomato, paprika, garlic and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer.

Pour in the wine and stir in the parsley and nutmeg. Add the peas, season with salt and pepper, and give everything a stir. Cover tightly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer about 15 minutes.

Make 4-6 wells in the peas, one for each egg. Crack the eggs and drop one raw egg into each well. Recover the pan and continue to simmer over medium-low heat for about 5-10 minutes, until the eggs are soft poached.


(Black-Eyed Pea Salad)

8 oz (1 ½ cups) black-eyed peas                                            

Small onion, finely chopped

3 tbls olive oil      

1 tsp wine vinegar

2 sprigs parsley, chopped                                                      

Salt to taste

Soak peas overnight or at least half a day. Cook in twice their depth of water. Add some salt towards the end of cooking, 35-40 minutes. Do not overcook, but peas should be very tender. Drain.

Combine the onion, oil, and vinegar. Pour over peas and toss well. Sprinkle with parsley.


(Brussels Sprouts with Chourico)

2 lbs Brussels Sprouts                                                            

¼ cup olive oil

1 sm onion, sliced thin                                                           

½ red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper                                                              

4 oz chourico cut in matchsticks

½ cup white wine 

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

Put the sprouts in a large saucepan with water to cover. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and sausage pieces, sautéing until onions are lightly golden and the peppers and sausage take on some color, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and simmer 1 minute, scraping up the bottom of the pan.

Drain the sprouts and add to the pan. Give them a turn in the vegetable base and ix in 2 tablespoons of the cilantro. Taste for salt and adjust. Simmer for 1 minute. Season with pepper and serve garnished with the remaining cilantro.


(Carrots with Cumin and Cilantro)

1 lb carrots, peeled and cut crosswise in 1-2 inch pieces

2 tbls olive oil      

½ tsp cumin seed

1 tsp salt or to taste                                                                

5 black or white peppercorns

Pinch of dried chili pepper (option)                                      

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp sweet paprika                                                                 

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbls olive oil      

½ cup cilantro, chopped fine

2 tbls heavy cream                                                                

½ cup slivered almonds or pine nuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Coat the carrots with the olive oil. Transfer to a sheet pan and roast 20 minutes or to desired doneness.

While the carrots roast, make the sauce. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the cumin seeds with the salt until fairly fine. Toss in the peppercorns and chili, grinding until they are well blended. Add the garlic, grinding until a paste is formed.

Mix in the paprika followed by the lemon juice. Transfer to a larger bowl. Using a whisk, whip the dressing while gradually drizzling in the olive oil. Periodically taste the amount of lemon juice to your liking. Mix in the cilantro. Drizzle in the cream and stir.

Transfer the carrots to a serving bowl. Drizzle the sauce over, tossing the hot carrots to coat. Let stand 15 minutes and serve garnished with the toasted almonds.


(Cauliflower with Prosciutto)

1 large head cauliflower separated into florets

¼ cup olive oil     

1-2 garlic cloves, chopped

2-3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, chiffonaded

½ small onion, chopped finely

Salt to taste          

White pepper to taste

1 part cider vinegar                                                                

1 part EVOO

Preheat oven to 400F. Place the cauliflower in a bowl, drizzle with the oil and toss to coat the florets. Transfer to a sheet pan and roast, turning occasionally, for 20 minutes or until fork tender.

Transfer the cauliflower to a serving bowl and add the garlic.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion and prosciutto in a little olive oil until onion is soft. Toss with the cauliflower

Season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with equal parts vinegar and olive oil, adjusting to taste













But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 05 March 2019 at 09:13
Brook - I see two right away that I would like to try (and could try): The carrots and the cauliflower. unfortunately, neither The Beautiful Mrs. Tas nor I have ever developed a taste for black-eyed peas, although the Brussels Sprout dish would also be good, assuming I could get a comparable sausage.

Regarding the cauliflower dish, I assume that subbing parsley in place of the cilantro would not be a faux pas where Portuguese foodways are concerned?

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 05 March 2019 at 09:18
No reason the salad wouldn't work with another choice, Ron. Maybe Navy beans or the like?

Yeah, sure. parsley would work just as well, I reckon.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 07 March 2019 at 08:39

Regular readers know that I rarely include desserts and sweets in these explorations.  There are two reasons for this:


First, we don’t do a lot of desserts, here. Friend Wife is diabetic, so we have to watch her sugar intake. And I never developed a taste for them. In fact, the sweeter the dish, the less likely I am to enjoy it. 

Second: While I’m the first to admit that I’m a great cook, as a pastry chef I make a good plumber. Possibly because I do so little of it.  I do not understand how the ingredients work together (every time I hear a pastry person say something like, “it you put another egg in it it will stay moister” I get filled with envy.  Jealous of that knowledge, yes. But no desire to emulate it.

However, a friend in Europe, who is familiar with Portugal, and who has been very helpful preparing this study, specifically requested that I include some.  So this final installment is for him.


Caveat: Unlike all the above recipes, I have not actually prepared any of these sweet treats. So, if they require modification or adaptation, you’re on your own.


That said, there is no question that the Portuguese suffer from a national sweet tooth. Their world is filled with sweets, and cakes, and all sorts of pastries. Rather than finishing a meal with either a dessert or a cheese plate, they often have dessert followed by the cheese.

I’m particularly intrigued with some of the names attached to their sweets. I thought the Ottoman’s were whimsical in their naming of recipes, but they don’t hold a candle to the Portos. Angel’s Breasts, and Nun’s Bellies, and Heavenly Bacon…..the list goes on and on. 

There’s a good reason for those names. From the 13th to 16th centuries in particular, the nuns living in convents (of which there are many, in Portugal) made these sweets to sell, for fund raising, and to serve to visiting dignitaries. Apparently, back in the day, the sisters were a lot more earthy than they became in latter days. Certainly they enjoyed a better sense of humor than the ones I grew up with.

There is a sameness to many of these sweets, however. Despite the various names, they’re based on eggs, sugar (lots of sugar!) and flour, with the addition of other flavorings such as fruit, nuts, juices, and even honey---as if they weren’t sweet enough.

On the other hand, the Portuguese have a great affinity for cake. Their love of cake is at least as strong as their love of bread. And no culture I know of is as bread-centric as Portugal, in terms of variety. Georgia comes close. But many Georgian breads are merely regional variations on a theme, rather than unique products, as is the case with Portugal. But many Georgian breads are merely regional variations on a theme, rather than unique products, as is the case with Portugal.


A diversity of their desserts combine these two loves, in that they are pastries converted from bread. Not just bread pudding and pain perdue---versions of which most cultures have---but others as well.

 There are regional specialties that are, at first, surprising. Until you realize that Portugal’s diverse geography and climate make growing unexpected things more than possible. Did you know, for instance, that in the Azores, pineapples are a major cash crop?  It’s not just chauvinism that makes many Portos claim Azorean pineapples are better than any grown in the tropics. Although, overall, smaller than, say, those from Hawaii, they tend to be both sweeter and juicier.

So, all in all, there is plenty to choose from. Here are just a few of the possibilities:



(Nun’s Belly)


10 oz granulated sugar

Small piece lemon rind

2 small slices crustless white bread, crumbled

1 oz butter

5 egg yolks

1 tsp cinnamon


Make a simple syrup (by heating) the sugar and just enough water to melt it, adding the lemon rind. Remove the rind and add the breadcrumbs, the butter, and, finally, the lightly beaten egg yolks. Boil very gently for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the time, to thicken. Pour into a serving dish and sprinkle with the cinnamon.



(Angel’s Breasts)


12 oz granulated sugar

2 tbls thick jam, any flavor

6 eggs plus 4 egg yolks, beaten together

1 tsp cinnamon


Icing (confectioner’s) sugar


Make a thick syrup with the sugar and enough water to melt it.  Remove from heat and beat in the jam. Boil again, over low heat, to thicken. Cool it down a little and add the eggs and cinnamon, stirring vigorously. Butter small patty tins really well and fill them half way with the mixture.


Bake in a preheated 400F oven until set and golden. When cold, dust with icing sugar before serving.



(Angel’s Cheeks with Oranges)


Melted butter for brushing

5 egg yolks

1 egg

24 raspberries to serve

3 oranges

1 cup sugar


Wash the oranges well, then remove the rind with a citrus zester.


Put the orange rind and sugar in a pan and add a scant cup water. Bring to the boil, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, then boil, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.


Remove the pith from the oranges and cut out the segments. Place in a heatproof bowl and add the syrup.


Preheat the oven to 325F. Brush six ramekins, traditionally half-spheres, measuring 3x1 ½” with the melted butter.


Beat the egg yoks and egg for about 10 minutes. Divide among the prepared ramekins and place on a tray with about ½-inch water and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden.


To serve: divide the oranges in syrup among individual plates then turn out an angels cheek on top of each serving and add a few raspberries.



(Orange Cinnamon Cake)


8 tbls (112 g) unsalted butter

3 cups (400g) sugar

6 large eggs, separated

2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour

4 tsp (12g) ground cinnamon

1 tsp (3g) baking powder

½ tsp (1.5g) salt

Zest of one orange

½ cup (120ml) whole milk

½ cup (120ml) orange juice

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease and lightly flour a 10-inch (25cm) tube pan.


In a medium bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter with the granulated sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Incorporate the egg yolks, beating well after each addition, mixing for 1 minute.


In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and orange zest. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the dry ingredients in increments to the batter, alternating with the milk and orange juice. Continue to mix for about 2 minutes on medium speed.


With clean beaters on high speed in a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into the cake batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.


Serve this with a dusting of confectioner’ sugar. A dollop of whipped cream and perhaps a few raspberries make this an elegant desert.



 (Portuguese Sponge Cake with Cinnamon Sauce)


Melted butter for brushing                                                     

1 generous cup all-purpose flour

6 eggs                  

12 egg yolks

2 cups confectioner’s sugar


For the sauce:       

7 tbls milk            

3 tbls confectioner’s sugar

2 egg yolks          

Pinch of ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375F. Brush a round, 8-inch cake pan with melted butter. Line with baking parchment and brush with butter again.


Sift the flour into a bowl and set aside. Beat the eggs and yolks with the sugar in another bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually fold in the flour.


Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and bake 25 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the pan.

Meanwhile, make the cinnamon sauce. Put all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and beat well until slightly thickened. Taste and beat in more cinnamon if desired. Leave to cool.


To serve, remove cake from pan. Cut into slices or wedges, keeping in mind that the center will be moist. Serve on individual plates, topped with some of the cinnamon sauce.



(Custard Tarts)


24 tartlet tins or mini-muffin tins

2 ¼ cups whole milk

½ cup butter plus additional for greasing tins

2 cinnamon sticks

Peel of one lemon

2 large eggs

2 cups sugar

¾ cups all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350F.


Lightly grease the unlined tins with butter, then set them on sheet pans. Heat the milk in a medium pot with the butter, cinnamon sticks and lemon peel until the butter is melted and steam is rising from the milk, about 5 minutes. Do not allow milk to boil. 


Using the high speed of an electric mixer, beat the eggs in a bowl with the sugar until they are thick and pale yellow, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and gradually add the flour in small increments while beating. Slowly, while mixing, incorporate the hot milk into the batter, about 1 minute. Discard the lemon peel and cinnamon sticks.


Ladle a scant ¼ cup of custard mix into each tine, filling them about three-fourths full. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and they are lightly golden on top, about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven. They will firm up as they cool. When slightly cool, transfer to a serving dish. Cool completely. Serve cool or at room temperature. Be sure to keep refrigerated if you are not serving immediately.



But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 08 March 2019 at 10:29
Excellent desserts by the looks of them, Brook - and a nice finish to this exploration!

Like you, we do not eat to many desserts at home. On Fat Tuesday, we bought a very small section of Tiramisu cake, just to get into the spirit of things - we ate it, but decided the next day that it was too much!

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Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 09 March 2019 at 08:14
Well, if you gotta, you gotta.  Personally, I'd have gone with a King cake, cuz it's more traditional, not only for Mardi Gras but wherever Carnival is celebrated. But each to his own.  

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 09 March 2019 at 10:41
Unfortunately, the tiramisu was the "closest" that they had, quotation marks placed deliberately.

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