Portuguese cuisine is not as famous as neighboring Spanish or Italian. Gastronomic tours to this calm and secluded country are gaining more and more popularity.
The specifics of Portuguese cuisine
The culinary specialties were shaped by Roman and Moorish influences. The inhabitants of the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula adopted the recipes for many distinctive dishes, spices and wine making.
Features and distinctive features
During the era of colonization, Portuguese navigators were responsible for the choice of products and their preservation. In order not to be poisoned, they prepared only fresh food without additives and marinating. Since then, the population has become convinced that simple and understandable dishes are always healthier than complex ones.
Partial isolation of the country from fashionable European trends in food made it possible to preserve the simplicity and originality of the cuisine. The monotonous range of products made people fantasize and compensate for it with a wide variety of cooking methods.
The Portuguese prioritize fish, seafood, vegetables, olive oil. Meat is in second place, more often it is eaten in the central and eastern regions. They prefer to grill products on the grill. They are in every restaurant and yard.
For breakfast, they eat toast with butter, sausage and cheese, wash it down with freshly squeezed orange juice or coffee, complementing lunch with a piece of pie or cake.
The Portuguese are famous for their love of first courses, which is not typical for other Europeans. Each lunch begins with a hot liquid, which, due to its thickness, resembles porridge. Everyday dinner consists of meat or fish with bread, cheese, salad and fruit.
In terms of the amount of fish consumed per person, the country is second only to Iceland and Japan.
Most recipes include cod.
Most of the national dishes of Portugal are prepared from cod. Neither weekdays nor holidays pass without them. The inhabitants of the country joke that every housewife has 365 recipes for cod, which means that she never gets bored. Now it is bought in Norway and Iceland. Carcasses are sold cut and dried. The tradition has survived since the days when fishermen filled their catch with a concentrated salt solution to preserve freshness before unloading on the shore. At home, they are soaked in water for a day.
From the meat segment, poultry and beef are preferred. They are marinated in wine, baked or stewed. Among vegetables, cauliflower, beans, carrots are in demand.
From cow, sheep and goat milk, cheese is produced from cream to hard and spicy varieties. They are eaten as an independent dish, washed down with wine, served with marmalade and quince jam.
How Portuguese cuisine developed
The development of colonized possessions introduced the Portuguese to many unprecedented drinks, spices and herbs. When sugar began to be grown on the island of Madeira, the confectionery business began to develop. There is now a bakery in every block with a wide selection of sweets and desserts.
National dishes of Portugal
Portuguese cuisine has a unique gastronomic charm. Intricate Mediterranean cuisine is combined with simple cooking technologies and the unpretentiousness of the population in food.
Groceries (baked cod)
For a classic recipe you will need:
- fever – 800 g;
- cream – 200 ml;
- milk – 300 ml;
- potatoes – 1 kg;
- onions – 2 pcs.;
- garlic – 2 cloves;
- olive oil – 100 ml;
- butter – 40 g;
- flour – 50 g.
- Boil the cod in salt water, remove the skin and take out the bones, tear the carcass into small pieces. The broth is saved.
- The potatoes are peeled and cut into cubes or strips, fried in olive oil until tender. Pour onto a paper towel to remove excess fat.
- Fry onions and garlic until golden brown. Add cod and keep on medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and mix with potatoes.
- Melt butter, add flour, pour milk in a thin stream, then a glass of broth. Stir constantly so that no lumps form. Cook until thick.
- Pour fish and potatoes with sauce, salt and pepper to taste, add cream. The mass is transferred to a mold with high sides. Sprinkle with cheese if desired.
- Bake in the oven at + 200 ° C for 25 minutes.
The dish is quick and easy to prepare, but contains a lot of calories. In other versions, boiled egg, carrots, spinach, legumes, offal, sausages are added to the fish. They make potato pies stuffed with cod and herbs.
The aroma of grilled fish permeates every Portuguese town. Thanks to spices and gastronomic craftsmanship, healthy and light dishes are obtained. The season for fried sardines lasts from July to September, and no holiday or fair is complete without them. The fish is good for grilling because it is non-greasy, soft and juicy.
You will need:
- sardine – 10 pcs.;
- flour – 2 tbsp. l .;
- olive oil – 60 g;
- salt, ground black pepper.
- The sardines are peeled, washed and wiped dry.
- Dipped in flour, salted, pepper, poured with oil, put on a wire rack.
- Bake until golden brown.
Baked or boiled potatoes, vegetables or rice are served as a side dish. The dish is washed down with white wine or low-alcohol beer.
In autumn and winter, restaurants offer meat stews, the composition of which differs from region to region. The recipe for the dish originated in the 15th century, when African slaves were brought to Portugal. They cooked their own food from waste from butchering animal carcasses, grains and legumes.
Feijoada is a dish made from beans and meat products.
Now the basis of feijoada is pork, sausages and smoked meats, rice and black beans. Cabbage and tomatoes are added in the north of the country, hot spices in the south, and seafood in coastal areas.
For the dish you will need:
- any smoked meats, ham, sausages, bacon – 300 g;
- red beans – 300 g;
- onion – 2 pcs .;
- tomato paste – 4 tbsp l .;
- semi-sweet red wine – 200 ml;
- vegetable oil – 50 g;
- oregano, chili, salt to taste.
- The beans are cooked until tender, as indicated on the package.
- Fry onions in a deep saucepan or cauldron.
- Add tomato paste, pepper and stew for 5 minutes.
- Pour in wine and evaporate a little.
- The beans are transferred to a saucepan and stewed for 10 minutes.
- Meat products are cut into pieces and combined with the bulk. Keep covered over low heat for 7-10 minutes.
The dish is served hot, sprinkled with herbs.
In the northern province of Migno, they came up with a thick vegetable soup with pork chorizo sausages. Since then, it has become as popular in the country as cabbage soup in Russia. It is prepared at home and in restaurants of national cuisine. Tourists are advised to start their acquaintance with him.
Caldu verde is a thick soup made from cabbage and potatoes with onions.
It is difficult to repeat the dish in the original, because he needs a special kind of cabbage – kale.
Recipe in Russian interpretation:
- leaves of white or savoy cabbage, Swiss chard, hard lettuce, beet tops – 300 g;
- sausages, hunting sausages – 150 g;
- potatoes – 500 g;
- onions – 1 large head;
- olive oil – 2 tablespoons l .;
- water – 1 liter;
- salt, black pepper.
- The sausages are boiled for 15 minutes, removed and cut into pieces.
- The potatoes are boiled until tender and mashed. The water is left for the soup.
- Pass the bow.
- Leaves of cabbage and other crops are cut into thin strips, thrown into a pot with potato broth.
- Add mashed potatoes, onions, oil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
Fans of spicy taste sprinkle the dish with paprika and dry garlic. Pieces of meat are served separately or placed on a plate.
Hunger made people cook food from beef and pork offal. In the XV century. in the city of Porto, all the cattle were slaughtered to provide food for the soldiers in the campaign of conquest. Residents had to survive on leftovers from butchering cattle and vegetable supplies. The dish does not look attractive and its taste is not for everybody, but still the population of the country ranks it among the “7 unprecedented dishes of Portuguese gastronomy”.
Tripash is a giblet stew.
For the stew you will need:
- boiled veal tripe – 1 kg;
- onion – 1 piece;
- carrots – 2 pcs.;
- tomato paste – 100 g;
- celery – 3 branches;
- olive oil – 6 tablespoons l .;
- hard cheese – 100 g.
- The trebuha is washed, cut into strips 1 cm wide.
- Chop vegetables and fry for half an hour in olive oil.
- Add tripe and stew for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste, mix and cook under a lid for 30 minutes over low heat.
Trypash is served hot, sprinkled with grated cheese.
Pastel de nata
Puff pastry in the form of a custard basket.
Most desserts in Portugal are made with egg yolks, and for good reason. In the Middle Ages, tons of proteins were used to bleach the sails of ships. So that the remaining yolks are not wasted, they were immediately used in cooking. The recipe for the cake was invented in the Jeronimos monastery, next to which they were sold. At first, the composition of the delicacy was classified, but the chefs managed to reproduce it and now they are massively baked throughout the country.
Ingredients for the dough:
- flour – 300 g;
- butter – 180 g;
- water – 200 ml;
- salt – ¼ tsp
- flour – 50 g;
- cinnamon – ½ tsp;
- milk – 300 ml;
- yolks – 6 pcs.;
- sugar – 250 g;
- water – 170 ml;
- vanillin, lemon zest – to taste.
The cream is made from flour and milk.
- Knead the dough from flour, water and salt. Form a square, cover with foil and leave for 15 minutes.
- Roll out a rectangle, grease 2/3 of the surface of 1/3 of butter.
- Wrap the dry part in the middle, then spread it over. Tuck the top and bottom so that you get a square.
- Roll out the dough into a thin layer and repeat the oiling and folding again.
- For the third time, the layer is rolled up into a long dense roll and put into the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- For the cream, mix flour, cinnamon, 50 ml of milk, yolks and remove the lumps.
- The remaining milk is heated with the zest, brought to a boil and immediately removed from the stove.
- The sugar is dissolved in hot water.
- Hot milk is poured into the yolks in a thin stream, stirring actively, then the syrup. The resulting cream is filtered.
- The chilled dough is cut into 15 pieces. Each is put into a mold and distributed over the bottom and sides. Fill with cream 2/3 of the height.
- Bake at + 220 … 250 ° С for 10 minutes.
For ready-made cakes, the cream will boil and will be covered with a golden crust.
Traditions on the islands
The gastronomic traditions of the islands are influenced by the preferences of the indigenous peoples of the mainland. Many fish and meat dishes are prepared in an original way, supplemented with local spices, fruit and vegetable sauces and side dishes.
The food of the Azores archipelago is similar to the continental one, but there are dishes that are unusual in the way of cooking. On the island of São Miguel in the Furnas Valley of Geysers, the earth is hot all the time due to volcanic activity. Every morning restaurant workers come there, put pots with the traditional dish of chicken, pork, beef and vegetables into the pits and bury them. On the hill they put a sign with the phone number of the establishment. At noon, in the presence of tourists, the cozida is removed from the ground and taken to a restaurant. Cod and tuna are baked in volcanic ash.
Chicken cozidou is a traditional Portuguese dish.
In the Azores, many types of bread are baked from wheat and corn flour, sweet and spicy. The islands are famous for their tea plantations with classic black and modern green varieties.
Basic food is grown in Madeira. Beef, lamb and cheese are brought to the island. Every day on the tables of residents freshly caught fish, including its exotic species, shellfish, meat, an abundance of vegetables and fruits, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes. They use little spices: garlic, bay leaves, oregano and other local herbs. Before meals, all establishments serve cakes with garlic, butter, herbs.
Once they were baked on a flat stone in the Arabian manner, now it is done over a fire on a metal plate.
What else to try in Portugal
For tourists, trying as many Portuguese dishes as possible is one of the main tasks of their stay. Restaurants offer seafood and meat both in the classic form with spicy and wine sauces, and in adapted versions for the unprepared.
Arosh de marishku
Cooking options for clam rice differ in each part of the country. In one area it looks like pilaf, in another it looks like thick soup. According to folk tradition, arosh de marishka is cooked in earthenware to preserve the flavor and aroma, but a deep frying pan is also fine. Before serving, sprinkle the dish with lemon juice, sprinkle with herbs.
Arosh de mariscu – rice with seafood.
The dish can be described as a large oven-preheated sandwich stuffed with sausage and cheese. It is served in a deep plate, poured on top with a special sauce, the composition of which is different in each restaurant. French fries can be prepared additionally if desired.
The gastronomic symbol of the south of Portugal – the cataplana – got its name from the special dishes made of 2 hemispheres-pots, which are combined into one whole. Cod, shrimp and pork sausages are stewed with white wine and spices. Decorate the dish with herbs and lemon slices.
Cataplana is made from seafood.
There are over a dozen recipes for Portuguese fast food – the bifana sandwich. In the classic version, marinated thin pork steaks are fried and stewed with wine and spices. Serve on warmed buns with hot sauce or mustard.
Beef with different degrees of roast, which is cooked to order. Served as a meat sandwich with fresh bread or as a main course with salad, potatoes or rice.
Pregu – beef in a sandwich.
From September until the new year, the season of roasted chestnuts takes place in Portugal. They grow them in tons; first sold fresh, then frozen. In terms of nutritional value, the fruits are ahead of most vegetables. For several centuries they replaced bread and were the main side dish. Chestnuts are cooked over an open fire with salt.
Portugal is one of the leading countries in the production, consumption and export of alcohol. Port wine, Madeira, almond liqueur “Almendo-Amarga” red, white and green wines are famous all over the world.
Of the non-alcoholic drinks, coffee is in the first place. It is drunk at any time of the day in its pure form and with all kinds of additives. The favorite pastime of the average citizen of the country is a leisurely drinking of your favorite drink in the company on the street or in a bar.
Coffee in Portugal
Coffee trees do not grow in Portugal, but this drink, along with wine, became national for many centuries. For the first time, coffee beans came to the country after the colonization of South American and African lands.
Coffee is the national drink in Portugal.
The culture of drinking the drink was born in the opening of coffee shops everywhere. The Portuguese did not borrow the technology for processing, roasting and combining grain varieties, but invented them on their own.
Every day the Portuguese drinks 4-5 cups of coffee, preferring strong or weak espresso with milk in different proportions, with ice, cinnamon and vanilla.
Liquor based on sour cherries. Most regions of the country keep the recipe unchanged. Some options are protected by law and not disclosed.
For the first time the drink was made by the monk Francis in the city of Obidos. For the sake of interest, he decided to add cherries, sugar, spices to the strong moonshine “Aguardiente” and diluted everything with water.
Some restaurants and bars serve ginginho in chocolate glasses.
When ordering tinctures, they always specify: with or without berries, since they have a strong intoxicating effect.
Strong and fragrant medronia is made from the fruits of the strawberry tree. It tastes good, smells like honey and flowers. It is served as a dessert wine or used in cocktails. Once upon a time, brandy was only made at home or sold illegally. Legal production has now been established, most of which is concentrated in the south of the country.
Brandy medronia is made from the fruit of the strawberry tree.
Porto and Tonic
A tonic and white port cocktail with mint, lemon or apple juice is popular in the capital’s bars and major cities in Portugal. The mixture of bitter and sweet tastes invigorates well, refreshes and awakens the appetite.
Below are a few homemade Portuguese recipes.
Potatoes with mustard dressing
- young potatoes – 0.7 kg;
- hard cheese – 50-70 g;
- mustard – 2 tsp;
- salt, black pepper to taste.
- The potatoes are boiled, then each is crushed into a cake about 2 cm thick.
- Grease with mustard and bake at 180 ° C for 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle with grated cheese on top and insert into the oven for another 5 minutes.
Chicken with mushrooms and port
- chicken fillet – 300 g;
- mushrooms – 200 g;
- cream 10% – 100 ml;
- white port – 100 ml;
- flour – 1 tbsp. l .;
- butter and olive oil – 60 g each;
- nutmeg, black pepper, salt – to taste.
- Mushrooms are boiled for 20 minutes and discarded in a colander.
- The chicken is cut into large strips, rolled in spices, flour and fried in olive oil. Pour in port and let the mass boil for 3-4 minutes.
- Mushrooms are fried in butter until golden brown. Combine with chicken and cream, stew for 20 minutes.
- Served with potatoes or vegetables.
- milk – 1 liter;
- sugar – 200 g;
- yolks – 10 pcs.;
- corn starch – 50 g;
- lemon zest, cinnamon – to taste.
- Bring the milk with cinnamon and zest to a boil.
- Grind the yolks with sugar and starch. Put on a slow fire, immediately pour hot milk in a thin stream. Cook, stirring continuously, until thickened.
- The mass is laid out in bowls and put into the refrigerator for an hour.
Before serving, the cream is fired with a burner to form a caramel crust. Instead of cinnamon and lemon, use any other spices, pieces of nuts or berries.