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The A to Z of Portuguese Food – Part 4

Javali - wild boar

J is for javali

Javali is Portuguese for ‘wild boar.’ It is rich, intensely flavoured pig’s meat, which is used in a range of dishes such as stews and oven bakes. It can also be eaten simply grilled, just as regular pork can be. Its strong flavour stands up well to robust red wine as an accompaniment.

While javali is eaten less commonly than other meats in Portugal, it is a treat that should definitely be sought out upon occasion. It has a stronger flavour tan pork and is perfect for hearty winter meals.

K is for kebab

I’ve already talked about espetadas (Portuguese skewered meat/fish kebabs) under part two of my A-Z, so I won’t repeat myself here. Instead I wanted to mention the Turkish-style kebab with which many people become familiar after a few too many beers on a Friday night.

When we moved to the Algarve, kebabs were simply not available. In the four years since we have been here though, three kebab shops have sprung up in our local area. Although kebabs are something we eat very rarely, the ones we have tried here have been packed full of salad and are distinctly healthier than those I recall eating in the UK.

Although kebabs in this format are clearly in no way Portuguese, the fact that the letter ‘k’ is not native to the Portuguese alphabet means that I am unaware of any Portuguese foods that begin with it. If any readers can name Portuguese foods that begin with ‘k’ then please leave a comment in the box below!

L is for leitão

Leitão is suckling pig meat and is an important dish in Portugal, with restaurants specialising in this alone. The tiny pig is trussed up and roasted on a spit, resulting in crisp crackling and wonderfully juicy meat. Often served with a thin and spicy peppercorn-type sauce, leitão is a fabulously flavoured meat and a great dish for a sharing occasion if you have family and friends over.

Leitão can be bought in chunks in the supermarket (often on the deli counter), or as a whole chilled or frozen pig. It’s something that we’ve attempted to cook a few times ourselves, but for the true experience a leitão restaurant is highly recommended – it’s faster, easier and the end result tastes better than we have so far managed to recreate at home!


Image credits: pixabay, wikimedia