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Many a culinary explorer could be forgiven for likeing Portugese cuisine to that of Spain, for there are indeed resemblances.  But Portugal, historically a great seafaring and exploring nation, has blended influences other than Mediterranean and Iberian in her cuisine, and many dishes or methods of cooking are quite unique.  The liberal use of fresh coriander, native to southern Europe, with cumin an other spices all bear witness to the distant voyagings of the past.  The flavourings of Portugese seafood dishes, their many regional meat and poultry specialities, as well as the delicate egg-based desserts, are often exotically different.


| Starters | Soup | Meat | Liver | Fish | Poultry | Dessert |

Salmonetes Setúbal
Setubál mullet

Serves 4       Preparation:  10 minutes
                     Cooking:  10-15 minutes, including sauce

  • 4 mullet, about 12oz (350g) each, cleaned and gutted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • lettuce to garnish (optional)

    The sauce:
  • 9 fl oz (250 ml) dry white wine
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6oz (175g) butter, cut into cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

  Cut heads off fish.  Score fish with a sharp knife at 1in (2.5 cm) intervals.  Brush with oil and cook under a pre-heated hot grill.  Season with salt.

  Meanwhile, put the wine, onion and bay leaf into a small saucepan and reduce until 2 tablespoons of liquid are left.  Remove the bay leaf, add the lemon juice and beat in the butter cubes one at a time, then whisk over a low heat until the sauce thickens slightly.  Season and stir in the parsley.

  Serve the fish garnished with lettuce and hand the sauce seperately.  Plain boiled potatoes or rice make good accomplishments.

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        Caldo Verde
Green Cabbage Soup

Serves 4       Preparation:  10 minutes
                     Cooking:  35 minutes

  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1¾ pints (1 litre) stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  Put the potatoes in a saucepan with the stock and season with a little salt.  Cook until soft.

  Remove the potatoes, mash well and return them to the pan.

  Bring the stock back to the boil, add the cabbage, oil and a little pepper and stir well.  Cook for 5 minutes.

  Serve with fried croûtons or crumbled crisply-fried bacon.

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        Frango Estufado
Portuguese chicken sauté

Serves 4       Preparation:  5 minutes
                     Cooking:  45 minutes

  • 8 medium chicken drumsticks
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 4oz (100g) butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 9 fl oz (250ml) dry white wine
  • 4 chicken livers, cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1oz (25g) butter
  • 4 eggs

  Dry the drumsticks with kitchen paper and shake them in a plastic bag with the seasoning and flour.

  Heat the butter in a large frying-pan and sauté the onion until soft.

  Add the drumsticks and cook until lightly browned.

  Pour the wine over rhe chicken, cover the pan and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until tender.

  Meanwhile purée the chicken livers and mix with the tomato purée.

  When the chicken is cooked, transfer to a serving dish.  Keep hot.

  Heat the remaining butter in a seperate pan and fry the eggs.  Place around the chicken.

  Add the liver purée to the chicken pan and bring to the boil.  Remove from the heat and stir well until blended.  Strain the sauce over the chicken.  Serve with Tomato Rice.

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        Iscas Lisboa
Portuguese marinated liver

Serves 4       Preparation:  12 hours marinating
                     Cooking:  10 minutes

  • 1lb (500g) calves' or lambs' liver
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2oz (50g) smoked bacon, finely sliced

    The marinade:
  • ½ pint (300ml) white wine
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsely
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 6 black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt

  Cover the liver into four even slices.

  Stir together the wine, vinegar, bay leaf, parsley, garlic, peppercorns, cloves and refrigerate for 12 hours, turning the slices occasionally.

  Remove the liver from the marinade, strain the liquor and reduce it over a fierce heat to about 4fl oz (100ml).

  Fry the bacon lightly in the oil, add the liver and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side (or longer if preferred well-done).  Arrange the slices in a heated shallow serving dish and sprinkle the bacon over.

  Add the reduced marinade to the frying-pan, bring to the boil and pour over the liver.  Serve with rice and a tomato and cucumber salad.

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        Arroz con Tomate
Tomato Rice

Serves 4       Preparation:  10 minutes
                     Cooking:  30 minutes

  • 2oz (50g) butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 7oz long-grain rice
  • 14 fl oz (400ml) meat stock
  • 7oz (200g) cooked beef, cut into strips
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

  Heat the butter in a saucepan and stir in the onion.

  Sprinkle the rice into the pan and stir until almost transparent, then add the stock.  Bring to the boil, stirring from time to time.  Reduce the heat.  Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

  Add the beef, tomatoes and purée and season.  Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

  Remove the lid, stir in the parsley and cook until any liquid has evaporated.  Serve immediately.

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        Melao à Moda de Braganza
Melon in white wine

Serves 4       Preparation:  15 minutes plus 1 hour chilling
  • 2 small melons, halved and de-seeded
  • 4 tablespoons kirsch
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 12 fl oz (350ml) iced sparkling white wine

  Using a melon baller, cut the melon flesh into balls and place them in a bowl.  Neatly scoop out the remaining flesh (keep this to use in a fruit salad) and place the skins in the freezer.

  Mix together the kirsch and brandy, pour over the melon balls and chill for 1 hour.

  To serve, divide the melon balls between the frozen skins and pour on a little white wine.  This is best while the wine is fizzy.

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Meat stew

Serves 4       Preparation:  30 minutes
                     Cooking:  3-3½ hours

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red chilli pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, de-seeded and finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2lb (1Kg) stewing beef, cubed
  • 1lb (500g) tomatoes, peeled
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1¼-1½ pints (700-750ml) meat stock
  • salt and pepper

  Heat the oil gently in a large pan.

  Chop the chilli pepper, then add it with its seeds to the oil.  Stir over a low heat for 5 minutes, then stir in the chopped onion and cook very slowly for another 10 minutes.

  Turn up the heat and add about one-third of the meat.  Cook, stirring, to lightly brown the meat then remove and add it to the vegetables.  Continue with the rest of the meat, cooking it in two batches.

  Return all the meat and vegetables to the pan. Add the tomatoes.  Stick the cloves into the remaining onion and add it and the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.

  Cover and cook gently for 2-2½ hours until the meat feels tender when tested with a skewer.  Stir the stew occasionally during cooking ad add more water if necessary.  Adjust the seasoning.

  Serve with boiled rice mixed with cooked vegetables.

Tip:  You can also make this stew in a flameproof casserole, and cook it in a cool oven, 275F (140C) gas 1, for 2½-3 hours or until the meat is tender.

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