Friday, November 14, 2014

Pork and Lamb "Cozido" with Chickpeas, Carrots, Butternut Squash and Potatoes

Recipe by Paula

Cozido is similar to a stew but instead of a thick sauce the meat and vegetables are cooked in a flavourful broth. I love this heady broth. Each area of Portugal has their own version of Cozido and this one comes from the Alentejo region and features the addition of chickpeas. Cozido is a healthy one dish meal that will satisfy your hunger and soothe your soul. The Cozido is even better the next day so make lots and enjoy!


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz cured Portuguese chouri├žo, sliced 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large dutch oven over medium high heat, add the butter and oil and heat for 1 minute. Add the chourico and cook for 5 minutes or until browned. Remove the chourico from the pan and set aside.

2. Season the lamb and pork with salt and pepper. Add the lamb and pork and brown the meat on all sides for about 5 minutes. You may have to work in batches depending on the size of your dutch oven. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside along with the chourico.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes or until the onions are soften and slightly caramelized. Stir the onions often. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the paprika, cayenne and tomato paste. Cook for another 2 minutes.

4. Return all the meat to the pan and add stock and bay leaves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and cook partially covered until the meat is tender. This should take about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

5. Add potatoes, carrots, squash, and chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes more. Discard bay leaves and stir in half the mint and parsley. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Ladle the Cozido into bowls and garnish with remaining mint and parsley. Serve warm


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Octopus & Tomato Salad with Lemon & Orange Vinaigrette

Recipe by Paula.

The Portuguese love their octopus and I think my mom prepares it the best. It is always tender and perfectly seasoned. This salad combines octopus with the bright flavours of tomatoes, citrus and herbs. The quail eggs are an elegant touch but if you can't find them, use regular eggs sliced into quarters. Enjoy!

Serves: 6

3-4 lb octopus, cleaned and beak removed (thawed if frozen)
1 medium onion cut in half
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon sea salt

1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon honey (or more if you want it sweeter)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (or more if you want it sharper)
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

6 quail eggs
3 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly and soaked in water for 10 minutes
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
3 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Fill a large pot with two thirds full with water and bring to the boil. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves and lemon to the water. Using tongs to hold the octopus, dip the octopus into water for 3 seconds then remove, repeat 3 times and then leave octopus in the water in a high simmer for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until tender.

2. Take the pot off the heat and add sea salt. Remove the octopus from the water after 5 minutes. Allow it to cool  down then slice the octopus into pieces.

3. In a bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, zests, garlic, red pepper flakes, honey, mustard and vinegar. Slowly add the oil while you whisk to incorporate the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. The vinaigrette can be made ahead of time and kept in a jar until needed. Just shake the jar to combine the ingredients before dressing the salad.

4. Fill a small saucepan two thirds full with water and bring to the boil. Gently add the quail eggs and boil for 3 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and cool them down under cold running water. Peel the eggs carefully and cut them in half.

5. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, octopus, onion, parsley and mint. Dress the salad with as much vinaigrette as you like.  Leftover dressing can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the salad garnished with the sliced quail eggs.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mussels in Red Pepper & Lemon Vinaigrette

Recipe by Paula.

The bright flavours in these mussels will awaken your palette and are an ideal appetizer for a dinner, party or just to enjoy with a glass of white wine after a long day. As always, adjust the vinaigrette to your taste by adding more or less olive oil. I like mine sharp but you may prefer it milder. Enjoy!

Serves 2-4

2 large red pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 dried red chillies
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 lb fresh mussels, washed and beards removed
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
grated zest of 1 lemon
1-2 tablespoons of honey (depending on your taste)
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon wedges for garnish

1. Set your oven to broil. On a baking sheet, place peppers and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Make sure each pepper is well coated in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Char the peppers in the oven, turning them until the skin is completely charred. Place peppers in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. The steam will loosen the skins. When the peppers are cool, scrape the skins off with the back of a knife and remove the seeds. Chop the red pepper flesh and set aside.

2. In a large pot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat for 1 minute. Add garlic and chilies and cook for another minute. Add the wine and stir. Add the mussels and stir well. Cover and steam over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mussels open, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Allow the mussels to cool down completely. Remove each mussel from the shell transfer them to a bowl. Break the shells in half and keep half the shells for presentation. Store the shells in the refrigerator until needed. 

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, remaining olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and honey. Season with salt and pepper and adjust the vinaigrette by adding more olive oil, vinegar or lemon to suit your taste.  Stir in the chopped red peppers, onion, parsley and reserved mussels. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Stir occasionally.

4. When you're ready to serve, taste the mussels and adjust seasoning if required. Rinse the reserved shells and place them on a large platter. Fill each shell with a mussel and some dressing. Sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish and serve with lemon wedges.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Salt Cod Fritters

Recipe by Paula.

These salt cod fritters were one of the most popular items at my last Portuguese supper club. They are perfect little bites of salty and savoury. You can make the batter ahead of time right up to the part where you add the whisked egg whites. Add the whisked egg whites just before frying so the fritters are light and airy. Enjoy!

Serves: 6-8

500 gr dried salt cod,
1 large potato (200 gr), unpeeled
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, separated into whites and yolks
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying

1. Soak the salt cod in cold water for 24 to 48 hours, changing the water occasionally then drain. In a large pot over medium high heat, add cod and enough water to cover the cod by 2 inches. Remove the cod and bring the water to a boil. Add the cod and boil it for 3-5 minutes. Drain the cod and let it cool for 5 minutes or until you can handle it with your hands. Remove and discard all the skin and bones. Flake the remaining cod flesh and reserve.

2. In a medium pot, add enough water to  cover the potato. Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes until the potato is cooked through. Drain the water and let the potato cool down until it is easy to handle but still warm. Peel the potato and mash it with the milk and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and set aside.

3. To a frying pan over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil and let it heat for 1 minute. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until they have softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat. 

4. In a large bowl, combine cod, potato, onion mixture, flour, egg yolks and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff then gently fold the egg whites into the cod mixture.

6. In a deep frying pan over medium high heat, add 3 inches of vegetable oil. Bring the oil temperature up to 365°F. Adjust the heat to keep the temperature at 365°F while frying. Drop heaping tablespoons  of the cod mixture into the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes (about 4-6 fritters at a time), or until puffed and golden and cooked through. Transfer the fritters to a paper towel lined tray to absorb any excess oil. Sprinkle fritters with a little salt. Let them sit for about a minute to cool slightly or they will burn your mouth. Serve immediately.