Sunday, March 24, 2013

Comforting Traditional Dishes: Portuguese Stew

This is a page from the Grandmother's Unwritten Cookbook.
Readers you will be tasting my heritage and genuine spirit in this dish.
When preparing it, I thought about how different it is when looking at my normal "Comfort Food" Dishes. While I truly love this dish, I know there are readers who will question the ability of the ingredients to meld into a true Entree.
Please believe me when I say it does and it does WELL!!

Portuguese Stew
My Grandparents came from the Azores. A group of islands off of coast of Portugal. 
To most in the Northeaster US,  the Azores is what they think of when they say they are "Portuguese". When I moved to South Florida, I quickly realized that "being Portuguese" did not necessarily mean the Azores. I now for the first time in my adult life, have to differentiate myself by saying I am an Azoreana. In South Florida there are an abundance of cultures who identify themselves "Portuguese". Mainland Portuguese, Brazilian, some Argentinian and Cape Verdean are just the beginning of the melting pot that is "Portuguese" here.

So now when I speak about food, I can no longer assume someone of Brazilian descent, knows the dishes I am referring to. While the flavors and bold tones may be similar, the products, ingredients and preparations can be very different. I can only distinguish my Portuguese "Traditional" dishes as what I have learned them to be. The handed down to me versions I received from my Azorean Grandmother.

Now, the "Comforting" factor of these dishes, comes from eating (always eating) in my VoVo's kitchen any chance I could get. To her, cooking was her expression of love.
 "Ah mi vida, mi coração, o que tu quer comer? Que você comeu? Vir aqui e comer." LOL
 Translated looseley: "My life, my heart, What do you want to eat? Did you eat? Come here and eat."
Me and VoVo She would say all 3 of those sentences as if they were one. There was no answering, and even if you did, she was making something or putting out a plate. even before you could mutter out a word.
Those memories play in mind every single time I prepare something that even remotely resembles her food. The warmth, the hugs, the great big Smile whenever I entered the room, were all the beginning of a very beautiful life of love. She really knew how to make someone feel loved.
I was truly Blessed.
Today I share with you a recipe that is very traditional.
It's called "Cozida Portugues" or Portuguese Stew.
While I went away from the "stewing" part of the recipe. I kept the ingredients fairly the same and made it my own. I decided to Roast it rather than stew it. The reasoning behind this is because I never liked the idea of drowning my Chourico in tomato sauce. I just didn't like the texture.
Roasting everything brings out the flavors so separately that each ingredient can be well identified and contributes it's own merit to the dish! 

Portuguese Stew

3-4 Medium to Large White Potatoes (large dice) May sub (8-10) baby red bliss potatoes
Olive Oil for bottom of pan (2-3 tbsp)
1 lg Yellow Onion Sliced (Cut onion in half then slice and separate.
1/2 Green Pepper diced small
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
3 tbsp Garlic chopped
2 tbsp Red Crushed Pepper (Sub: 2 tsp Dry Red Pepper flakes)
*Garlic and Red Pepper together before adding.
1 lb Linguica or Chouriço (can sub Good Italian Sausage or Polish Sausage)
1 lb Fresh Green Beans (cleaned and ends cut) *important, do not use canned beans too mushy.
3/4 cup Chicken Stock (or White Wine or Beer)
1/2 cup Tomato Sauce (or leftover marinara sauce)

Heat oven to 400°f
In a Baking dish add 2 -3 tbsp Olive oil to coat bottom.
Portuguese Stew http://foodslove.blogspot.comAdd Potatoes, Onion & Green Peppers.
Sprinkle with the Salt and Pepper.
Top with  1 lb Chouriço or Linguiça 
Cut into bite size pieces.
(remember it shrinks so not too small)
You want the Chouriço / Sausage on top of the potatoes, because as it roasts, the juices from the sausage with drip down over the potatoes flavoring them. Yum!!

Dot the whole mixture with dabs of the Garlic and Red Pepper mixture.

Oven Roast at 400° for 30-35 minutes.

Portuguese Stew

Add: 1 lb FRESH Green Beans

3/4 cup Chicken Stock (or Beer or White Whine, your preference)
1/2 cup Tomato Sauce (can sub leftover marinara)
Pour over top .
Toss everything together. Combine as best as you can.
Top with 2 tsp Cilantro chopped or Flat Leaf Parsley chopped (Your preference)

Roast for additional 30 minutes or until Beans and potatoes are Fork Tender.
Serve with crusty bread and ENJOY!!!

Portuguese Stew

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