What is Portuguese food?

portugaldinner
A new restaurant recently opened in our neighborhood called Nando’s Peri Peri http://www.nandosperiperi.com

We are familiar with Peruvian chicken and were pleasantly surprised by our visit to Nando’s Peri Peri, home of the flame grilled Portuguese chicken.

The food was fresh as was the atmosphere. My only negative about the experience was that it was a little pricey. My husband was ready to purchase the Peri Peri hot sauce they sold at the restaurant, and which is readily available for purchase online, but I insisted we could find a suitable recipe on the Internet. The recipe is courtesy of Carazy
http://www.simmeringsaucepan.com/homemade-peri-peri-sauce-marinade-recipe/

This Peri Peri sauce recipe was provide by a couple guys in Australia. That is the beauty of the Internet. The recipe can come from anywhere.
The Chunky Portuguese Medley is my rendition of the side dish served at Nando’s, which I insist on getting every time I visit.

portugal_salad

Chunky Portuguese Medley
½ an English cucumber (seeded and chopped)
1 cup of assorted Olives green and kalameta
¼ cup each red, orange and yellow bell pepper, julienned,
1 cup grape tomatoes (whole)
4 oz Feta cheese, cubed (ours was bought from local dairy farm in Maryland).
2 oz cheese curds, optional (ours were bought at a gas station in New York and were ridiculously expensive. Still well worth the investment)
Throw all these ingredients in bowl. Cover with 1 cup of your favorite vinegrette.
Lemon vinaigrette
½ cup Spanish olive oil
4 Tbls red wine vinegar
1 Tbls balsamic vinegar
1 Tbles fresh parsley chopped
the juice of ½ lemon
½ teaspoon lemon zest
Salt & pepper (to taste)
Wisk ingredients together and pour over medley. Cover and allow to sit on counter for up to two hours, stirring occasionally.

portugal_bread
I made an adhoc “hearty bread” by adding to a basic white bread recipe ½ cup pumpkin seeds, 1 tbls sesame seed and ¼ cup hard wheat.
The wheat and seeds were toasted in a skillet over medium heat and ground in a coffee grinder prior to adding to the bread recipe. I crossed my fingers as it was proofing in my oven. In an effort not to heat up the oven, I cooked the bread in my new convection toaster oven and the top got a little too brown. Sadly by pulling it out of the oven, it did not quite get baked through. It was light and tasty though except for the slightly doughy middle.

The other side dish I prepared was Bean Stew/Feijão Guisado courtesy of Pasto http://pasto.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/bean-stewfeijao-guisado

portugal_beans

The post says it is ok to take liberties with this recipe which I did. I used two 16 oz cans of pinto beans. I did not have chunk of smoked ham fat so I used 1 Tbsp on bacon fat and fried 2 Tbls of smoked cured Virginia bacon. Additionally, I added a ¾ cup of shredded pork that I picked from a pork bone used for making stock, as well as substituting pork stock for the water. I also added a 1 Tbls of tomato paste to add depth to the flavor.

While it is easy for us to rate our own food, on this particular night we had a couple guests to rate our dinner. One is helping my husband drink around the world. They are both Polish and have agreed to guest cook when we eat our Polish meal.  Again we used our Panini maker to grill the chicken which was extremely easy and effective. Clean-up was a chore but then clean-up is always a chore.

Overall the dinner was a great success. The sauce was spot on without being too spicy. The Panini maker put a nice char on the chicken. The beans were surprisingly flavorful with 4 different cuts of pork. We enjoyed a Super Bock from Portugal (see beer page).
More importantly, our guests willing agreed to take home leftovers for later snacking. The meal was healthy albeit a little time consuming.

 

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