Eating al fresco when on holiday is something that we all enjoy and in Algarve we are lucky enough to do so for most of the year. There is nothing like watching the sun set with a glass of vinho and the wonderful smell of locally-cooked specialities to be enjoyed.
Portugal is known for its wide variety of food. From grilled fish and chicken piri-piri to the heartier meat dishes from the interior/north of the country.
Of course the Pastel de Nata is known across the globe, see here for a little gen on the delicious pastry. Did you know that it is probable the Portuguese introduced chilli peppers to Asia, tempura to Japan and tea to the United Kingdom? Whether that is true or not, Portuguese cuisine is such that it offers something for all palates.
To bring a little flavour of Portugal to your home we thought you might like to try the following simple recipes, the ingredients for which can be easily bought and the method not being difficult to follow.
Jardineira is really a Portuguese beef stew – a simple, warming and nutritious dish which can be cooked traditionally, in a slow cooker or a pressure cooker even. The following recipe is for four and is not expensive to make.
800g stewing beef, cut into cubes
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup white wine
3 hard tomatoes, peeled and chopped
600g potatoes, cut into cubes
1 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
Salt and black pepper
If you are making this in the slow cooker, then pour a generous amount of olive oil in to coat the meat. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well and leave to cook for approximately 8 hours, checking whether a little water may need to be added.
Should you opt to use a pressure cooker, please note that you will need considerably less cooking time.
To cook the traditional way start by frying the onion in the olive oil until it is translucent.
Add the garlic, fry for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes, bay leaf and cook for another few minutes.
Add to this mixture the white wine, let it reduce a little and then add the meat, paprika, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook over a low heat.
When the meat is almost cooked add the potatoes, carrots and peas. These will still need a fair amount of cooking, due to the tomatoes. You may need to add a little water.
Season to taste and serve piping hot.
Bacalhau de Páscoa
Bacalhau de Páscoa (Easter cod) is often cooked in Portugal at this time of year. The dried salted cod is normally used however, it can also be made with fresh or frozen cod, pollack or haddock. Again the recipe is for four.
1kg potatoes, cut into cubes
500g fish, cooked (poached is best) and shredded
1/4 cup olive
400ml bechamel (white) sauce
200 cheese, grated
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 onions, chopped
1tsp nutmeg, grated
Salt and black pepper
Turn the oven on to 200ºC. Boil the potatoes until they are just cooked. You can sauté them if you prefer.
Place the onions in the hot olive oil. Once the onion is translucent add the garlic, cook for a short period and add the fish. Cook on a gentle heat for around five minutes.
Take the fish mixture off the heat and add the bechamel sauce together with the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Heat gently for another five minutes or so.
Mix the cooked potatoes with the fish mixture and add to a greased baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and place in the oven for around 15 minutes or until the cheese has browned.
Serve with a sprinkling of flat-leafed parsley on the top and any vegetables on the side.