The A to Z of Portuguese Food – Part 7

Sausages - splendid, but make sure they're cooked

S is for Salsichas

Sausages - splendid, but make sure they're cooked

Sausages – splendid, but make sure they’re cooked

Salsichas (sausages) form an important part of the Portuguese diet. Varieties abound, from smoked sausages such as chouriço, which can be eaten sliced on their own or used to add flavour to any number of stews and one-pot rice dishes, to fat Brazilian sausages, which are perhaps the closest to English-style sausages.

My particular favourites are the long, thin reddish sausages, which are perfect for a barbecue (although my husband does bemoan the fact that the red colour means it’s hard to tell when they are cooked through!).

Also popular are hot dog sausages, which come in a wide range of tins and jars in every supermarket. Hot dogs are widely available on the menus of cafés and other eateries where burgers are served. Cheap and simple, they are usually topped with delicious crispy onion bits and a good dollop of ketchup and/or mayonnaise. From fast food restaurants to nightclubs, hot dogs are available pretty much anywhere you look!

Chouriço Assado - impressive

Chouriço Assado – impressive

Be careful when buying Portuguese sausages to establish whether they are raw or pre-cooked. It can sometimes be hard to tell, as a friend who stayed with us found out to her detriment. Look out also for restaurants serving the speciality dish of chouriço assadochouriço covered with aguadente and set alight. Served in its own special dish, this is as worth ordering for the spectacle as for the flavour.

T is for Turkey

Turkey (peru in Portuguese) is eaten far more regularly in Portugal than in England. Every butcher’s counter has a range of cuts available, with the most popular seeming to be thinly sliced breast sections. It’s a cheap and tasty meat, which is used in a range of dishes.

One of the most common uses of turkey is to make peru com cogumelos – thin breast steaks served with mushrooms in a delicious, creamy, mushroom-packed sauce. It’s perfect served with rice and is a regular purchase from our local takeaway on those evenings when we haven’t the energy or inclination to cook.

U is for Upside Down Cake

This is definitely cheating slightly, but I racked my brain to come up with a food that began with ‘u’ in either Portuguese or English and this was all I could come up with!

When we first moved to Portugal, we brought with us a fabulous recipe book – The Food of Spain and Portugal by Elisabeth Luard. It contains a recipe for an almond and orange upside down cake, which was one of the first recipes I attempted to bake when we arrived. For the purposes of this blog post I am studiously ignoring the fact that the recipe is in the Spanish section of the book!

The result was a slightly sticky, richly flavoured almond sponge with delicate slices of orange on top. The slices are eaten skin-on, providing a delightfully sweet flavour with just a hint of bitterness from the rind. The recipe book has been used regularly since this early success and is one that I would heartily recommend to anyone looking to experiment with the flavours of both Portuguese and Spanish cuisine.

Oranges - in plentiful supply in the Algarve

Oranges – in plentiful supply in the Algarve

If you can think of any Portuguese foods that begin with the letter ‘u’ do let me know by leaving a comment in the box!

Image credits: Wikimedia Commons