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5 Typical Portuguese Recipes

Whilst we live through the crisis that COVID-19 brought us, we must maintain the security measures, and with that we will stay much longer in our homes. So, why not to venture into the kitchen, as we have already suggested here on the 5 Typical Spanish Recipes? Now is the time to innovate, test new skills, discover new talents and passions. Are you up to this challenge with us? And are you ready to learn 5 typical portuguese recipes?

Know that, seafood is very present in Portuguese cuisine. Its location on the globe is conducive to fishing and so you’ll find not only in this blog, but in several recipes, the two most famous fish in the country: Sardine and Codfish. No more history, here we go!

Roast Sardine (Sardinha Assada)

The symbol of Portugal! Yes, the sardine has a great historical and cultural importance in the country. It is the most popular and most consumed fish among the Portuguese, especially in the coastal region of the country. Sardinha Assada is a typical summer dish among the Portuguese, where friends and families gather to have barbecue and enjoy the good weather. Shall we learn?

  • 8 fresh sardines, whole, clean and open (about 1 kg)
  • 1 cup sweet grape tomato (about 180g)
  • 1 garlic head
  • 4 branches of thyme
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil to taste
  • homemade fish seasoning to taste

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC . Water the bottom of a large baking pan with olive oil and reserve.
  2. Wash and dry the tomatoes, lemon and thyme branches. Cut 8 thin slices of lemon and cut each in half to form half moons - use the rest to serve.
  3. Place an open sardine on the board with the skin down, season with the homemade seasoning and place 2 lemon halves. Close the sardine and transfer to the baking dish. Repeat with the others, leaving space between each sardine in the baking dish.
  4. Add the tomatoes, the garlic cloves (with the peel) and the threshed thyme. Drizzle with more olive oil (about 3 spoons) and bake for 20 minutes - be careful so the sardine doesn’t dry out.
  5. Serve the sardines with the tomatoes, garlic cloves and the liquid that has formed in the baking dish.

Closeup of a roast sardine served on a plate with potatoes

Roast Sardine served with potatoes, a very typical dish among the Portuguese

Portuguese Codfish (Bacalhau)

They say in Portugal there are 365 ways to make Bacalhau - one for every day of the year. Everyone loves the simplicity of this typical saltwater fish. Rich in flavour and with different ways of preparation. I would say that Bacalhau is for Portugal just as Pasta is for Italy. It is a true passion of Portuguese gastronomy:

  • 500g of codfish
  • 3 onions in slices
  • 3 sliced peeled tomatoes
  • 6 medium potatoes cut into slices
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into slices
  • chopped parsley
  • 10 green olives
  • ½ cup of olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Place the codfish in a container, cover with water and soak for 24 hours inside the fridge.
  2. During this period, change the water several times to eliminate the salt.
  3. The next day, rinse the codfish and put it in a pan with enough water to cover it.
  4. Let it boil, taking care not to soften it too much.
  5. Then, separate it into large pieces.
  6. Cook the potatoes in the same water in which the codfish was cooked.
  7. In a pyrex glass, place the ingredients in layers.
  8. Sprinkle the parsley, place the olives and water with olive oil.
  9. Take it to the oven for 30 minutes.

Important: the codfish should be soaked for 24 hours, before the beginning of the preparation. During this period, change the water several times to eliminate the salt.

A closeup on a plate with codfish, potatoes and cherry tomatoes

Codfish, one of the most popular fishes in Portugal

Caldo Verde (Portuguese Soup)

This one comes from the North of Portugal, and different from the two previous ones, believe it or not, there is no fish in this dish. Caldo Verde is the famous Portuguese soup, and as you can already imagine, most consumed in winter. It’s simple, easy to make, but believe me, delicious. A combination of potato with cabbage and pepperoni sausage. Ready in 30 minutes:

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 chicken broth tablet
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 tablespoon of salt or to taste
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 cup kale cut into strips
  • 1 pepperoni sausage / sliced

Preparation:

  1. In a pressure cooker, place the potato, chicken stock, oil, water and salt.
  2. Cook for 10 minutes (start counting the time after the pot starts to squeak) until the
    potato comes apart.
  3. Beat everything in the blender.
  4. Add the pepperoni sausage and boil.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the kale.
  6. Serve and place a string of olive oil or croutons

 

Seafood Rice (Arroz de Marisco)

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic clove
  • 1 bay Leaf
  • A great dash of Olive oil
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 tablespoons tomato pulp
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 200g shrimp
  • 200g clam
  • 500g mussels (or other seafood to taste. May also include squid)
  • 300g rice
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Chillies to taste
  • Fresh parsley or coriander (to sprinkle) to taste

Preparation

  1. Heat a pan, cover the bottom with oil, sauté the chopped onion, garlic and pepper.
  2. Add the tomato and the tomato pulp and let it cook for about five minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, apart, put the mussels in a pan, cover them and let them open with the steam.
  4. Drain and reserve the juices.
  5. Cook the shrimp in a litre of water with a bay leaf.
  6. Peel half the shrimp and reserve the cooking water.
  7. Mix the mussel juices and the cooking water for the shrimp.
  8. Add 800 ml of the stock to the pan.
  9. Bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper.
  10. Add the rice and, after ten minutes, all the seafood. Let it cook for another five minutes. It is important not to overcook the seafood.
  11. Add a little water if necessary.
  12. Season with chillies, serve and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or coriander.

A big frying pan with many different seafoods cooked

A delicious Seafood Rice being prepared

Bifana (Portuguese Pork Sandwich)

The North and East of Portugal countryside have less oceanic influence in the culinary, and there you will find more meat dishes. Bifana is the typical Portuguese pork sandwich, can be served with soup and chips. This recipe yields up to 4 portions and can be prepared in 30 minutes:

  • 1 lemon in juice
  • 60 g lard
  • 150mm white wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Paprika, ground black pepper and salt for seasoning
  • 600 g pork steaks
  • 5 cloves of garlic

Preparation:

  1. Buy very thin pork steaks
  2. Peel the garlic cloves.
  3. Place a layer of steaks in a container and season them with salt, pepper, bay leaf, paprika, lemon juice and garlic cut into small pieces. Make layers until the steaks are finished.
  4. Water the steaks with the white wine, and leave them to taste for a few hours.
  5. In a large iron frying pan, let the fat warm up well, drain the steaks, put them in the lard and keep stirring continuously.
  6. As soon as the steaks are rare, add the liquid from the marinade and let it boil, until almost the liquid evaporates.
  7. Serve the steaks with wheat bread or on the plate accompanied by french fries

A closeup on a bifana dish, a hamburguer made with pork meat with french fries

Bifana is often served with french fries

Now that you know how to make 5 famous recipes from Portugal, you’re ready to be the next Masterchef of Portuguese cuisine! If you ever pop to Portugal, you can easily find these recipes and plenty of more around the streets. And if you’re interested in films, check out our blog about famous films made in Seville.

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