October 2013 Cookbooks of the Month, THE FOOD OF PORTUGAL and THE NEW PORTUGUESE TABLE: Meats; Poultry
Please use this thread to report on the following chapters from the October Cookbooks of the Month:
Meats (The Food of Portugal), pages 123 - 152
Poultry (The Food of Portugal), pages 153 - 166
Meats (The New Portuguese Table), pages 131- 154
Poultry (The New Portuguese Table), pages 109 - 130
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Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Coconut Sauce (The New Portuguese Table), p. 116
According to the introduction to the recipe, this dish was influenced by the flavors of Africa and Asia, but its spices and the addition of tomato paste also reminded me of the flavors of Chicken Tikka Masala. Chicken breasts are marinated in an aromatic coconut milk mixture, resulting in extremely tender meat, then served with a spicy sauce.
The marinade consists of onion, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and coconut milk. The chicken marinates from 4 hours to overnight (I let them marinate overnight), before being grilled. The sauce is prepared just before the chicken goes on the grill, using many of the same ingredients as the marinade: onions, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and lemon peel are sauteed, coconut milk and cream are added, and the mixture is reduced by 1/4. In fact, I'm sure the sauce could be made ahead, even at the same time you're making the marinade, as the ingredients for both are virtually identical. The sauce could then be reheated just before serving. The sauce ingredients can be adjusted to suit your taste; one teaspoon of red pepper flakes was plenty of heat for me, but I would have appreciated a bit more ginger, garlic and lemon.
I forgot to purchase chives, and because the sauce had plenty of red pepper, decided to garnish the grilled chicken slices with marash pepper instead. The meat was not only juicy but also quite flavorful and delicious from the marinade ingredients. A punch of heat and creaminess comes from the sauce, which also mingles well with (in this case) jasmine rice. I served Seared Broccoli Rabe (from the same book, p.169) alongside, which was an especially nice color and flavor contrast.
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Coconut Sauce (The New Portuguese Table), page 116.
I am posting my photos, but if you want to see a pretty version of this dish, I suggest you view lesliej's photo above.
I started marinating the chicken breasts the night before, so they were in over 24 hours. Mr. NS grilled them in the big egg. The coconut milk we purchased for the marinade and the sauce was like no other I've ever used. It was 100% solid, no liquid at all. Consequently, the sauce was a bit thick, and not very attractive. But the taste was wonderful! With the long marinade, the chicken really absorbed the flavors. For a side, I cooked some peas with leeks and saffron.
We had some leftover chicken without the sauce, and Mr. "I hate leftovers" Nightshade remarked on how delicious it was the next day.
I have to say that this dish wasn't what I imagined to be Portuguese flavors. We certainly see Portuguese influence in dishes from around the world, and it only makes sense that there would also be some cross-pollination.
Momma Leite's Braised Beef in Wine and Garlic (New Portuguese Table p. 146)
This recipe is basically pot roast, with the addition of an overnight marinade and some linguica. I used a lovely boneless chuck roast, which is the called-for cut.
I had two beefs (ha!) with the recipe. One, the "Portuguese" additions to the basic pot roast formula didn't contribute much to the overall flavor - the end dish didn't taste much different from regular pot roast. I didn't have sweet paprika, only smoked, so used a little more smoked than was called for (the recipe calls for both types) and also was generous with the linguica. However, in the entire bottle of red wine that is called for in the marinade, the few tablespoons of paprika was totally lost. Ditto with the red pepper flakes. The linguica I was using was fresh and not cured (shopping error, I grabbed the wrong thing) so I grilled a few links first, then added them to the roast in large pieces when indicated. However, the linguica didn't contribute much to the dish. It tasted great on its own, but the flavor didn't really seep into the other ingredients. The beef ended up tasting pretty ordinary; I had been hoping for a more "Portuguese" flavor profile.
My second issue was with the braising instructions. I am, admittedly, very bad at braising, and have just recently started cooking through Molly Stevens' book. With the little bit of exposure to Stevens' method, I thought the oven temp seemed too high, for one - he calls for 325F - and there seemed to be way too much liquid in the pot. He says to use all of the marinade as the braising liquid, plus some water. I knew that would drown my roast, so I used only half of the marinade. That still came halfway up the side of the roast, which the little voice in my head said was still too high. Should have listened! It was indeed, as the roast gave off a bunch of liquid and I ended up removing a bunch mid-way through the cooking process to get the level back down.
Also, I'm not sure why the recipe calls for turning and basting every 20 minutes. I don't think Stevens' recipes require that at all, and every time you go in you lose the precious heat that's accumulated in your pot. I didn't turn as often as he wanted - I turned every 45 minutes or so. At the end, between too much liquid in the pot, too high of a temperature, and releasing the heat every time I went it to turn it - the meat didn't come out tender at all. It was very tough.
If I did this again, I'd do several things differently. One, I'd up the amounts of spices called for in the marinade. I'd try fresh oregano instead of dried - maybe that would have contributed more to the overall flavor. I'd use a much lower oven temperature, probably closer to 275. I'd only use as much of the marinade as was required to come a third of the way up the roast, and then I wouldn't touch it for at least 2 hours (when you then go in and add the linguica and veggies). Those changes might result in a more successful dish.
Aravisea, I'm so sorry the recipe didn't live up to your expectations. I always hate when that happens, especially when you buy expensive ingredients.
I do know that the dish is very Portuguese inflected--or let me say, Azorean inflected--especially with the right kind of sausage and the right level of heat (spice).
In Portuguese cuisine, there is no such thing as fresh chouriço or linguinça. All of it is heavily smoked. (My aunt makes our family's sausage, but there are some very good places that sell it on the Internet.) Being smoked, it adds a lot of flavor and spice to the dish.
There is so much information in the front of the book about these ingredients which, of course, is missing when recipes are posted on the Internet.
A few questions:
1. Did you use double concentrate tomato paste? If not, did you use 6 tablespoons of regular paste?
2. The recipe in the book calls for fresh oregano; that might help.
3. The recipe in the book also says to use more than 1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes, if you wish. That would amp up the flavor.
4. As far as too much liquid in the pot, it depends upon the size of the pot. A wider pot will allow for a lower liquid depth. And the turning and basting is my mom's way of making sure all of it stays moist.
5. Also, how was your salting? That always brings out a punch of flavor.
One of the most important steps is removing the beef from the liquid and reducing it down to a thick sauce--what Azorean cooks call molho. It's in that reducing that all flavors concentrate.
One of the things you *can't* say in a book is "use the fattiest piece of chuck you can find." !! The fattier, better-marbled beef will turn out a more tender piece, as you know.
But you've given me some good food for thought. I'm going to make this again (haven't made it in a while), paying particular attention to your comments. Perhaps there's something I learn.
re: David Leite
David, Thank you so much for your feedback! I am not great at braising so your comments are very helpful. I did use double-concentrate tomato paste. It's possible I did not salt enough - I was worried about over-salting, but maybe I didn't have to be worried? And, maybe my chuck roast wasn't marbled enough. I'll look for better marbling next time. Although I forgot to mention it when I wrote my review, the broth was really good - we mopped it up with chunks of crusty bread. I could have made a whole meal just on that.
I am still confused about linguica, though. I got my linguica from a small grocery in my area that specializes in Portuguese and Brazilian products, and the sausage I got was sold to me as pork linguica. (They had chicken linquica as well.) It's definitely raw, though, and not smoked - a picture is attached. I wonder if it was mislabeled? Or if the Brazilians do linguica differently, and what I got was Brazilian linguica and not Portuguese? I plan to visit the market again, so I will ask for smoked linguica next time.
Thanks again for your help!
Aravisea, MeIMM, is exactly right. It's Brazilian. In all my time cooking Portuguese, I've never come across it--but I shop in heavily Portuguese-populated areas.
Here's a picture of chouriço--smoked Portuguese sausage. A great, great place to buy it is Lopes Sausage Co. in Newark, NJ. (973) 344-3063. (If you order, tell the owner Hermino Lopes that I sent you there.) The prices are reasonable....but when you factor in shipping it can get pricy.
If you make this again, try a lower temperature. It's not how my family makes it, but your oven could be running hot. Try 300°--that might make a difference.
And if you have questions before you make it, drop me a line at email@example.com and I we can set up a phone call. How's that?
Partridges with Cabbage, Pg. 162, The Food of Portugal
Perdizes com Couve
This is an old Portuguese recipe that is suitable for many game birds and, as Ms Anderson says, the result of the unusual cooking method is a very tender and succulent bird. I made two substitutions: the alternative suggestion Cornish hens instead of partridges, and pancetta and chopped giblets for the chorico. I do realize my choice for the chorico is nothing like the real thing but with a little extra seasoning it really wasn't too far off, surprisingly. I used two small hens but kept the full amounts of the seasonings.
The gist of the recipe entails a blanching till pliable of large outer leaves of a green cabbage which then become a wrapping for seasoned and browned small game birds. The leaves completely wrap each bird and the package is tied with butcher's twine. These packages are settled into a pan in which lies rendered chorico bits, then tawny port and broth are poured over. The pan is covered and set into a pre-heated 350F oven to roast about an hour or more.
To serve the twine is carefully removed, the leaf wrapped birds are plated with a "wreath" of small potatoes and baby carrots. I seamed small red potatoes and purple carrots, with a few broccoli and cauliflower florets. Whatever sauce there may be is ladled over all. Quite pretty, if I do say so.
The tricky part here is to get leaves large enough to use just two for each bird so the wrap is like a gift wrap. The cabbage was smaller than I should have used but that's what was at the market. Nevertheless 3 leaves were sufficient. Another thing is to season the birds aggressively as that's all except for chorico that's used. In retrospect I could have used pimenton as well, and slightly more salt & pepper over the wrapped birds in the pot.
The hens were juicy and tender, subtle but quite nice in a comfort food kind of way. The cabbage was sweet and I found that I liked the taste never having eaten boiled cabbage leaves. (I usually stir-fry, braise, or use them for slaw) To be honest I have to say G didn't like this dish as much as I did. He likes bolder flavors. I'd make it again but he probably wouldn't want me to.
Grilled Skewers of Beef with Garlic and Bay Leaves, The Food of Portugal, p. 125.
I was looking forward to my grilled tenderloin having loads of flavor from the garlic and bay leaf marinade, but it didn't seem to permeate the meat, even after letting it all marinate the full 24 hours.
I cubed about a pound of beef tenderloin and cut the marinade ingredients by half (melted butter, olive oil, crushed bay leaves, garlic slivers, and salt & pepper). The mixture had a heavenly aroma after 24 hours in the refrigerator and another two at room temperature, but we simply ended up with grilled meat that was very juicy. There wasn't much extra marinade to brush over the skewered beef (it soaked in, I suppose), so I just rubbed the little that remained in the dish over the meat before cooking.
I would need to modify the recipe if I were to try it again - using crushed garlic instead of slivered, and more bay leaves.
Mini Lamb Meatballs (The New Portuguese Table, p 150)
This was a case of the ingredients I had on hand choosing the recipe rather than vice-versa. I've had a pound of ground lamb in my freezer for a few months and I wanted to use it up. This recipe calls for 2 lbs, so I made half the recipe.
Basically, you make meatballs from ground lamb, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, fresh ginger, orange zest, sweet paprika, cumin, cinnamon, cilantro, salt, and pepper.
The meatballs are browned in olive oil.
You then make a sauce which has onion, bay leaf, garlic, flour, cumin, cinnamon, cilantro, white wine, beef stock, salt, and pepper. The meatballs are added back to the sauce to heat through.
I made a few substitutions to work around ingredients that I didn't have. I used lemon zest instead of orange zest, chicken stock instead of beef stock, and parsley instead of cilantro.
This was a quick and easy recipe and the meatballs had a nice flavor. If I made them again, I'd reduce the amount of cinnamon slightly as mine was quite strong.
Mini Lamb Meatballs, The New Portuguese Table; p.150.
I also halved the recipe, which made three very generous servings, accompanied the meatballs with coconut-ginger rice, and sprinkled over some marash pepper along with the cilantro to provide a bit of heat. The fragrant seasonings did indeed give the lamb a very nice flavor but I think, for me, the lamb needed just a bit more (especially the orange/garlic/ginger). The sauce provides a light coating, just enough to glaze the tiny meatballs, which, along with the ease of putting the recipe together as stockholm mentioned, would definitely make these a great hors d'oeuvre as well.
Pork Tenderloin in a Port-Prune Sauce
The New Portuguese Table
On-line recipe http://chezus.com/2009/12/01/drinks-d...
This recipe has two parts. The first is the prune sauce. Pitted prunes, ruby port, beef stock (used Better than Bullion), grated fresh ginger and honey are combined in a sauce pan and brought just to boiling. Heat is reduced, covered and simmered for 15 min. Then the pot is removed from heat and left to steep for 20 min. The mixture is put in blender or food processor and wizzed until smooth. I used my immersion blender instead. Season to taste with s/p.
Pork tenderloin (silver skin removed) are seasoned with s/p and seared in o.o. in a skillet over med. high heat. Once browned (about 5 min.) they are transferred to a baking sheet and finished in a preheated 450 degree oven until internal temp of 150 is reached (15-18 min.). Remove from oven, tent and let rest 5 min.
Excess oil is removed from pan, heat lowered to med. and minced garlic is lightly cooked. Prune sauce is added along with sherry vinegar and accumulated juices from pork. Cook a few min. to meld flavors. Drizzle over diagonally sliced pieces of pork. Garnish with cilantro.
The recipe is quite straight forward. The prep can be done ahead of time quite easily. The pork was perfectly cooked!
That said, if you aren't a prune fan then this isn't for you. I found the sauce to be all about the prunes. The garlic just barely peeped through and the other flavors were lost. It wasn't bad - it was just very prune.
I served it with oven crisped potatoes and a mint/garlic/green bean salad. The crispy potatoes were a nice balance to the pork - crash hot potatoes would work well too! The green beans gave good textural and fresh accent. Not the perfect side, but it was what I had on hand.
I don't think I'd prepare this again without tweaking with the sauce a bit. It just wasn't balanced to my taste. Plus there was a lot of washing up for a dish which didn't wow me. If you drained the oil and used an oven proof pan you could probably avoid having to clean a baking pan. But then the timing would increase 5 min. or so while the pan cooled enough to finish the sauce.
Edit: The recipe calls for drizzling the sauce - as my photo shows I was a little heavier handed. I did drizzle with another serving and still felt the sauce was too one dimensional for me.
Pork Tenderloin in a Port-Prune Sauce, Pg. 138, The New Portuguese Table
Lombinho de Porko Coin Molho de Porto e Ameixas Secas
We made this a few days ago and the memory lingers on, we liked everything about this roasted pork with prune-port sauce. Following the recipe exactly, we used just one tenderloin, and halved all the other ingredients. However, after reading Meatn3's report I increased the amount of garlic to two large fat cloves, probably a little more runny honey than called for found its way into the pot, and used a mini food processor to whiz the sauce till smooth. The tenderloin was a tad over the recommended weight and the 15 minute roast was perfect.
The sauce, although a little too thick for my liking, was a flavorful accompaniment to the tender, juicy, porky meat. Next time, more broth will loosen it up. Additionally, I served punched potatoes a la the recipe on page 173, and Jean Anderson's garlicky spinach from "The Food of Portugal". Quite a lovely meal.
Lamb Stew with White Beans
borrego ensopado de com feijão branco
The New Portuguese Table, page 152
The lamb shoulder is trimmed and then cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes, before being placed in a marinade of orange juice, garlic, ginger and mint for 4 hours. THe lamb is then drained, saving the marinade, and dried with paper towels. The lamb is browned in batches in a dutch oven with olive oil. When all the lamb has been browned, the lamb goes back into the pot. Sprinkle the lamb with some flour, stirring to combine, before adding the reserved marinade, beef stock, the soaked beans, carrots, bay leaves, cinnamon, fresh oregano, star anise, ground coriander seed and cumin seed, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/4 hrs. Stir in chopped tomatoes and continue to cook until the beans are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, star anise and cinnamon stick before serving in bowls.
I started with two lamb shoulder steaks, with bones, that weighed 1.87 lbs, less than half the suggested amount for this recipe. But since I wanted a bean heavy stew, I divided the other ingredients in half. I don't know where Mr. Leite is getting his lamb, but well trimmed lamb shoulder in my house doesn't produce many cubes of 1 1/2 inches. Many of my lamb pieces were not that robust, and even more of them were not even cubes. The recipe calls for soaked navy beans, but for some reason, I was not able to find navy beans, so I substituted cannellini beans which he suggest if you are using canned beans. I did not use stock. Instead, I added water and the four bones from the shoulder.
My beans did not want to cook. We waited and waited and waited and finally ate the stew when they were pretty close. Since I didn't use all the soaked beans in the stew, I cooked the extra in a separate pot and they cooked up just fine, and far faster. I didn't want to boil my stew, so perhaps the temperature was too low?
The results were delicious. To be honest, this tasted far more Moroccan than Portuguese. The flavor highlights the warm spices used in a very subtle way. We both found that a little stew was very satisfying. I have noted that I will parcook the beans in the future, and increase the amount as well. This recipe will be added to our increasing number of lamb stew options.
Lamb Stew with White Beans - The New Portuguese Table, p. 152
I made this yesterday, with a few adaptations. I didn't decide to make it until yesterday morning, and I hadn't soaked beans nor did I have the lamb. Now, I normally do not soak beans anyway, so no big deal. What I did was put them in the slow cooker, unsoaked, and set the slow cooker to high. Later, I turned it down to low. The beans probably went 2.5-3 hours on high, and were almost cooked after this time. At that point, I switched to low to hold them until ready to add to the stew, a few hours later. Because at this point the beans were completely cooked, I added them at the point in the recipe where you would add canned beans.
The other problem I had was that I didn't have lamb shoulder in the freezer, as I thought. So I ended up going to the store for the lamb, and all I could get was a bone-in leg. So I boned it out and used it instead of the shoulder. I can say I would definitely have preferred the shoulder in this dish, so use that if at all possible.
The rest of the technique is described in smtucker's post above, so I won't repeat it. I have to say the marinade smelled so good, I almost just wanted to skip the stew and make kabobs out of the marinated meat. The whole stew smelled fantastic while cooking. One thing I do want to comment on is the cinnamon. I used Ceylon cinnamon, which comes in long sticks with a very thin, papery bark. During the stewing, this tended to break apart, and made it hard to get all the cinnamon out at the end. The recipe was probably tested with cassia, which is what is usually sold as cinnamon in the US, and comes in shorter sticks, with a thicker bark that makes a distinctive curly cue. Next time, if I use Ceylon cinnamon, I'll use less, or make sure I get it out a bit earlier, because the cinnamon was a bit strong here, and occasionally I got a piece of the bark when eating.
The stew when first served was a bit soupy, but like many dishes of this sort, it thickened up when held overnight, and was even better the next day. The flavors are quite good. There are a lot of bright flavors from the orange and ginger, which lift this lamb stew out of the ordinary. It was a big hit with Mr. MM, who will be wanting it again.
Grilled Chicken Slathered in Hot Sauce (Frango com Piri-Piri) p. 118
We’re always looking for quick dinner options to make after work and this one fit the bill. The chicken (three skin-on bone-in thighs for us) is marinated overnight in a combination of piri-piri sauce, smoked sweet paprika, and garlic. Although I did make some of Mr. Leite’s piri-piri sauce earlier, it has not had its week in the fridge yet, so I used a purchased sauce. And instead of grilling, we broiled the chicken in the oven. This was our first taste of piri-piri sauce and we enjoyed how the heat and the tang of vinegar came through in the chicken, as did the smokiness of the paprika. This was nice as a quick, after work meal.
Cheese-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, The New Portuguese Table, page 132.
I made this a few nights ago, and wasn't able to post it here due to some technical problem, so here I am again.
Part one of the recipe is to make the amped-up red pepper paste on page 232. This paste contains sweet paprika, sweet smoked paprika, red wine, garlic, Turkish bay, double concentrate tomato paste, fresh lemon juice, fresh cilantro, fresh parsley, kosher salt, ground white pepper, a few dashes of piri-piri sauce, and some olive oil. If you think that sounds good, just wait until you smell it.
Then, on to the meat. I only had one tenderloin, so the recipe was perfect for us (with even a tad for my lunch the next day). The center of the tenderloin is skewered to make a longitudinal hole, which is widened a bit. We use a knife steel down the center to make a nice round tunnel. The recipe calls for stuffing the tunnel with firm grated cheese, but I chose instead to push in alternating cubes of pecorino and manchego. It just seemed like easier stuffing.
Once stuffed, the tenderloin was rubbed with the amped-up red pepper paste, wrapped in plastic, and moved to a cooler clime for an overnight chill.
The next day it's browned in a hot skillet with melted lard (I had to use olive oil this time). Once it's brown all around, it goes into the oven to roast until the cheese is just beginning to melt.
While the tenderloin rests, the fat is drained out of the skillet, which is deglazed with white wine. The wine comes to a boil (and the nice brown bits are scraped up), then stock is added. All I happened to have on hand was duck stock, beef is called for. The sauce is then reduced and set aside.
I did my best to cut my tenderloin at the "jaunty angle" Leite prescribed, then drizzled the meat with the sauce, and topped it with a little chopped parsley.
If there is anything that outshines the compelling smell of the amped up red pepper paste as the tenderloin hits the skillet, it's got to be the taste of the pork, with the sauce on the outside and the cheese on the inside.
I served roasted carrots and turnips on the plate, and a green salad on the side. A complete winner for the senses and a worthwhile dinner party dish, to be sure.
Cheese-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, The New Portuguese Table, p.132
A great big thumbs-up to LN for coming up with an alternative method of stuffing the tenderloins; I also used a knife-steel to create a nice, neat channel in the meat and cut the cheese into cubes rather than grating it. I believe this technique REALLY facilitates the entire process. The end result, as LN describes, is a very beautiful, juicy and aromatic dish.
I used two pork tenderloins that were approximately 14oz each, and slathered on closer to four tablespoons of the red pepper paste, which wasn't overwhelming at all. And I used the steel again to compress as much cheese as I could into the channel (I also think chunks vs. grated probably help prevent "cheese seepage"!). I browned & roasted the meat, and made the pan sauce just as LN describes.
I chopped the cilantro that remained after making the red-pepper paste and used it to prepare Coriander Potatoes from "The Food of Portugal" (p.210) to serve alongside. So delicious, and indeed a great party dish as all the components for the tenderloin are made ahead of time.
Grilled Beef Kebabs with Madeira, Bay Leaf and Garlic; The New Portuguese Table, p. 143
This is David Leite's recipe for Espetada, which differs a bit from the version I reviewed from The Foods of Portugal in that Madeira is included in the marinade. Cubed beef (I used rib-eye) is tossed with minced garlic, Madeira, crushed bay leaves and salt & pepper, then grilled on skewers after a three-hour marinade (two hours refrigerated, then one hour at room temperature).
My Madeira was probably not as dry as what was called for (I used Blandy's Bual), but I really enjoyed the extra richness it provided to the dish. It also provided more "liquid" to baste the meat with while grilling. The garlic was definitely more pronounced here than in Anderson's recipe, but not overwhelming (minced rather than sliced), but I still couldn't detect the flavor of bay leaf after grilling (but then, they were dried Turkish leaves so maybe I need to be on the lookout for fresh!). And, after tossing the leftover marinade I realized it may have been nice to boil it for a few minutes in order to drizzle it over the finished kebabs. But even without that, the meat was juicy and flavorful with the subtle hints of garlic and "nutty" Madeira.
I actually duplicated the lunch David describes in the preface, serving the kebabs with his Fried Cornmeal, Madeiran Griddle Bread, and Roasted Garlic Butter. Each recipe was wonderful on its own, but the meal was truly elevated when all were eaten together!
Grilled Beef Kebabs with (Sherry), Bay Leaf and Garlic; The New Portuguese Table, page 143.
We're away for the weekend and didn't bring madeira, so I had to make a substitution. For some reason, we had several bottles of sherry here, and since the recipe called for a dry madeira, I used a mix of fino and oloroso. Sadly, as good as the marinade was, our meat wasn't the best. Supposedly sirloin from the local grocery here, it didn't meet our expectations. No fault of the recipe, of course, and I'd like to try this again with madeira and a better piece of meat.
A friend had just foraged some chanterelles, so that was our side dish. Inspired by another Leite recipe from the website, I cooked them with garlic, shallots, duck stock, and a touch of cognac, and topped them with herbed goat cheese.
Quick Weekday Roast Chicken with Potatoes, the New Portuguese Table, page 110
This is another quick, weeknight chicken dish. David is two for two in this category for us. I made the amped-up red pepper paste in advance ( L. Nightshade references the past in her Cheese-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin post).
Because it is just the two us, instead of a whole chicken, we very generously slathered the paste on three bone-in skin-on thighs. This sat in the refrigerator overnight. I neglected to season the chicken with salt, I just threw them in the broiler until done and served them with Anderson's cilantro potatoes.
The paste adds quite a bit of flavor to the chicken. The smoky paprika, garlic and herbs come through. We were content to have such a nice meal with such little effort.
Pot Roast Terceira Island Style (The Food of Portugal, p. 126)
I needed to clean out the fridge on a blustery Sunday afternoon, and this looked like a good bet to help me accomplish that goal. I don't have a benchmark pot roast recipe, so I don't know how this one compares, but it was flavourful and satisfying. It starts with sautéing bacon and aromatics (onions, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and cloves), then a braise of tomato paste and a bottle of wine. It cooks for the first two hours and 425; turns; and cooks for another hour at 325.
In the spirit (!) of fridge clean-up, I used 2 cups of white wine and 2 cups of broth. I was surprised that the recipe called for white wine instead of red, but it added a nice sharp piquancy. The "gravy" was very rich, maybe a result of the broth? Or the half-cup or so of onion paste from 660 curries I threw in?
I was also somewhat surprised at the high cooking temperature, but in the Crueset casserole, all was good. I don't know if this is special enough to warrant "keeper" status, but as a non-pot-roast person, I was well-pleased.
Chicken Cataplana recipe.
If I am violating the rules by reviewing a recipe not specifically found in the October COTMs, Big Sal, I apologize! Neither The New Portuguese Table nor The Food of Portugal supplies a recipe specifically for cooking poultry in a cataplana, but I wanted to try a recipe which uses chicken rather than seafood in my nifty Shiny New Ball, I mean, my new copper 12-inch cataplana. I hope it's OK to review it here. I figured that the cooks in the Algarve region must sometimes cook food items other than shellfish in this lovely Portuguese cooking vessel! Anyway, I found a recipe in the link below and served it a few days ago.
It's just plain fun to cook in this giant clamshell of a cooking pot, which is easily separated into its two halves for the preliminary cooking and then affixed back together for the final braise in the oven. I made the recipe just as given in the version below, after determining that a "wine glass of sherry " is about 5 oz. and then deciding that I would substitute cream sherry for the suggested Pedro Ximenes. I also couldn't find any creme fraiche on short notice, so I mellowed the sauce just before serving with a bit of sour cream, which worked fine.
Anyway, you could make the recipe with complete success in a large frying pan or a wok, and then braise it in a dutch oven. I separated the top and bottom of my cataplana and used each half to saute the vegetables and the chicken at the same time. The sloping sides of the vessel make it behave like a wok. The vegetables include whole shallots, slices of eggplant, carrot, zucchini, and chopped garlic; the chicken pieces are also browned, and then returned back onto the bed of vegetables, onto which a sprig of thyme has been laid. Then scatter the peeled zest of an orange over all and pour in the aforementioned wine glass of sherry. Cover or reconnect the cataplana and seal it together, and braise for 40 minutes or so (my thick pieces took 50 minutes) in the 475 F oven until the chicken is tender.
When done, remove the cataplana from the oven and pour off the collected juices into a saucepan. The vegetables and the chicken exude some liquid but there's not a huge amount of sauce. It takes only a minute or two to reduce it until it tastes rich and nutty--the virtue of the cataplana is that you don't need a whole lot of liquid to braise successfully; it's a closed system because you seal it with the spring clips on the side. When the chicken is tender you remove the top of the cataplana and keep the chicken warm either by tenting with foil or popping it back in the oven while you are reducing the sauce. Season well with black pepper and salt, and stir in a a bit of creme fraiche/sour cream. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve directly from the bottom half of the cataplana.
The chicken was tender from its braise and the sweet sherry was mellowed and nutty. This is not a "soupy recipe"--but there was an adequate amount of sauce and we all slurped it up with the accompanying new potatoes and spinach side-dish.
Steak Portuguese a la Ritz Hotel, Food of Portugal pg. 123
Caveats, #1 pan seared steak is not my thing, much prefer grilled, and #2 thickened gravy/sauce is rarely my thing, ....but, the request for dinner last night was steak and the flavors in this seemed like they might work. Upshot, it was edible but not anything I'd repeat, although Mr. QN liked it just fine.
The sauce is a roux to which stock is added, then shallots, garlic, bay, wine and vinegar (the tartness really comes through in the end, which balances the richness, but flavor wise was a bit too assertive for me). Allow to simmer for 20 minutes until reduced, and add some butter.
Pan sear the steak, adding thin prosciutto (serrano ham in my case) on top after the flip. Plate the steak, top with sauce. If I were going to make this again, I would change the order of the plating, putting sauce on the plate, then the steak on that ham side down, it would make for a much more appetizing presentation. Sorry no picture to prove the point as the camera battery died at just the wrong moment.
Alentejan-Style Pork w/ Clams, The New Portuguese Table, pg. 135
Pork w/ Clams Alentejo-Style, The Portuguese Table, pg 137
I've made each of these now, and we liked them both, but it was the Anderson version that really blew us away. That dish will, I'm sure, make many repeat performances around here. However, with the Leite recipe, I followed it to the letter, whereas with the Anderson recipe I made two changes, one intentional (used Boston Butt, not Loin) and one completely by mistake (forgot to add the wine to the marinade! Ended up adding it at the braise stage).
The recipes are quite similar; cubes of pork are marinated overnight in a pepper paste and wine. The meat is drained, reserving the marinade, and then browned in batches. Then onions and garlic are cooked in the oil, the meat and the reserved marinade are added back, and all is braised low and slow, after and hour and a half, up the heat, add the clams, cover and steam until open -- per Leite 7 minutes or so, per Anderson 30(!!) minutes, sorry three changes to the Anderson recipe, 7 minutes were plenty to cook the clams. Leite's recipe is served with potatoes, Andersons with bread. Both are good, I preferred the bread.
Here's my take on the Anderson version, just as the clams went in, and just as it finished.
Hmmm, maybe the simpler but bolder spicing worked better for us, we like intensity as much as complexity in food. And also, although it is heresy, and it was a mistake not an intentional change, I think I particularly liked the wine added to the broth/braise, rather than to the marinade (I'm not always a big fan of wine marinated meat).
Chicken in a Pot (Frango na Púcara), The New Portuguese Table, page 113.
I think I'm going to have a long-term relationship with this book. This dish is easy (although I'll readily admit, I did one major cheat, and a couple of alternate-to-the-first-choice ingredients), and has such unique flavors, it's clearly a do-again.
I made this out of things that were in my freezer and refrigerator, as I'm in a prolonged cleanout mode. What I had was boneless, skinless chicken thighs, whereas the recipe calls for bone-in chicken pieces, presumably with skin. I also had in my freezer, a bag of pearl onions, so I didn't go through any of the blanching and peeling of the onions. (Please forgive me for deviating, and see how my cheating made this a quick, after-a-long-workday-weeknight meal.)
Anyway, other than that, I pretty much followed the recipe. The chicken was seared, then set aside, The onions were sautéed, garlic was added, and the chicken was returned to the pan. Tomatoes, prosciutto (presunto is the first choice), raisins, bay, and parsley are added.
Now, here is where some truly compelling flavors come in: tawny port, white wine, aguardente (cognac in my case), and dijon mustard are whisked together and added to the chicken. All is brought to a boil, then turned down and simmered until the chicken is cooked through.
I omitted the part about putting the chicken pieces in the broiler to crisp the skin, as mine didn't have any. But I did remove the chicken and the solids, as requested, to reduce the liquid.
I served this with punched potatoes, drizzled with some of the herb oil from page 40. I think it would be lovely with polenta also. We just loved the flavors in this dish. I actually made it a few nights ago, and just writing about it makes me want to make it again,