Archive for Portugal

The Offal Truth: Depression Hits The Cows

Posted in Beef, KNOW YOUR COW, STRANGE MEAT, STUFF ABOUT MEAT with tags , on December 9, 2008 by chomposaurus

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Apparently, the economic downturn massive depression is forcing some homemakers to look at alternatives to expensive meats.

Retail and food experts say that worry over the high cost of prime meat cuts and the economic downturn have more shoppers checking out supermarket offal offerings. But the return to eating innards was underway even before this year’s financial crisis, as celebrity chefs and restaurateurs have encouraged a return to cooking organs such as liver and kidneys, which once enjoyed a central place in British cooking. (See how farmers around the world prepare their crops for harvest.)

At ASDA, Britain’s second largest supermarket chain and a subsidiary of Wal-Mart, offal sales were up 20% last month compared to November 2007. Sainsbury’s, the country’s third largest supermarket chain, is selling 48% more pig livers, 22% more chicken livers and 8% more pig kidney than it was last year. Overall, sales of offal in the U.K. are expected to reach more than $62 million this year according to industry analysts Mintel.

“It’s price-driven,” says Bob Cotton, CEO of the British Hospitality Association, which represents 60,000 hotels and restaurants in the U.K. “I couldn’t say the British public have suddenly fallen in love with offal. That would be gilding the lily.”

I’m all for using the whole cow! Here are some great offal recipes:
Lamb Fries (aka Cowboy Caviar aka Balls) and Beef Tongue from Confabulist

Tripas à modo do PortoThe tripe stew for which Porto is famous (I have had this and it is quite tasty – like lentil soup with meat)

And something a bit more gourmet… Beef Liver with Carmelized Onions and Pecans

Yep, those are balls.

Yep, those are balls.

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Know Your Sausage: Linguiça

Posted in Linguiça, Sandwiches with tags , on October 8, 2008 by chomposaurus


Linguiça is the national sausage of Portugal, just as chorizo is to Spain. Still made using the same basic ingredients and ratios as it was a hundred years ago, people consume this mild pork sausage all across the Iberian Peninsula. The key ingredient is vinegar, which gives linguica a soft but unique flavor. Wine or sherry is also prevalent, along with garlic. Add these to pork butt and a few other spices (oregano, paprika, cumin, etc) and you’ve got yourself the spicy building block of portugal.

Ugly, full of cholesterol and heartburn-causing ingredients, Linguica is not your ideal comfort food. But that doesn’t stop people from making linguica sandwiches, one of the most popular forms it’s consumed in here in the United States.


Fun fact! McDonald’s sells linguica as part of their breakfast meal in Hawaii. Also on the plate: spam, eggs and rice. Do not try and order this at McDonalds in Spanish Harlem, as I did. You may be beaten with hot apple pies.

If you’d like to try some Linguica, I’d suggest ordering from http://www.gasparssausage.com/ in Massachusetts

Porto’s Magic Slab

Posted in Beef, Pork, Sandwiches, Sausage with tags , , , on April 1, 2008 by chomposaurus

francesinha.jpg

The francesinha, or little French thing, is supposedly a signature dish of Porto, a city in northern Portugal famous for, well, Port. I’m not sure if this is true – it didn’t seem to be on the menu many places, and it definitely had a bit of a touristy look to it. But that doesn’t matter at all. Because there is one thing I am sure about when it comes to the francesinha: It is a magical meat lamp containing a crazy meat-loving genie who will grant all your wildest carnivorous dreams.

Ham, linguica (spicy portuguese sausage), regular sausage and steak are squished between two thick pieces of bread. Next, a huge slab of cheese is melted around the big brick. Then, the sandwich is served in a bowl. Why? Because it’s up to its waist in a thick beer and tomato sauce.

Safe to say, you have to eat this thing with a fork. And every bite contains a different array of meaty magic. On the one hand, you never know what combination of flavors you’re going to get. On the other hand, you could say it all has the same flavor: the flavor of awesome.

Definitely try this if you’re in Porto (it’s better than their other signature dish, tripe stew). But I think it might be just as good if made with American ingredients, and I’ve found one recipe that looks accurate:

http://www.bbcfood.com/offthemenu/Series2/episode10_recipe.htm

Rub this baby at your own risk. You might not be able to handle what the magical meat genie has in store.

King of Chicken

Posted in Chicken with tags , , , on March 31, 2008 by chomposaurus

Rei de Frango

Bon Jardim resides on both sides of a little alley between the Rossio and Restauradores in the heart of Lisbon, Portugal. Why does one restaurant take up both sides of the street? Well, the primary reason is most likely due to the fact that they serve the best effing roast chicken in the whole freaking world. It was nothing short of sexy. Seriously, as my carnivorous partner and I devoured these small, roasted miracles, we made sounds which would have to be censored on network television.

Imagine the best roast chicken you’ve ever had. Now imagine the skin twice as crispy, the meat twice as tender, and the whole affair seasoned ten times as richly. I’ve eaten a lot of meat, and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything that was as saltily satisfying as Bon Jardim’s chicken. You get a half chicken per person, served on top of a plate of fries. Although in fine European tradition you don’t get ketchup, it doesn’t matter because they poor a delicious, juicy gravy over the entire affair. By the time you get to the fries they are delightfully soggy with chicken drippings and sauce. No other condiments needed.

To top it off, it’s insanely cheap (7 euros per person), the waiters are friendly to dumb tourists, and they serve Coke in glass bottles. The chicken was so awesomely salty that my friend and I each had too bottles, which I know sounds scary, but it was, in fact, perfect.

There’s a reason the neon signs (again, hanging on both sides of the street) say “King of Chicken” in both Spanish and Portuguese. This chicken rules.