May 4, 2012

Portuguese Cooking In Hawaii

Portuguese Bean Soup
Click on photo to see larger image
The Portuguese were the preeminent fishermen and explorers of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Those adventurers brought back spice and foods that were unheard of in Europe. In 1876, Jason Perry, Consular Agent for Portugal, recommended that laborers be shipped to Hawaii from the Portuguese island of Madeira to work on sugarcane plantations. Madeira had grown sugarcane for many years and is known today for its Madeira wine. Madeira is part of two Portuguese archipelago located in the north Atlantic Ocean, 400 miles off the coast of North Africa. In 1878, immigration began. 

These European immigrants differed from their Asian counterparts as they intended to stay in Hawaii permanently. Their families brought everything with them, along with their distinctive cuisine. Their food was more authentic Portuguese because it had fewer Spanish influences, using less cilantro, curry or cinnamon, and more hot spices. They expressed love, faith and friendship through their cooking. Portions were large and hearty, and guests were always welcome at the table. They built forno, their traditional beehive oven, to make Pão Doce, the Portuguese sweet bread and malasadas, a sweet doughnut without a hole in it. Other foods they brought were Linguica: spicy sausage, Acorda: bread soup, Arroz Doce: sweet rice, Caldirada: seafood stew, Caldo Verde: kale and potato soup, Feijao: beans, Pao Doce: sweet bread made with egg and butter, Peri Peri: a hot and sour sauce made of hot chili peppers, garlic, onions, tomatoes, horseradish, and lemon juice, Pudim Flan: custard, Sabula de Vinha: pickled onions, Soupa de Feijao: bean soup, and Vinha D' Alhos: fish or pork in vinegar and garlic. These wonderful foods have become a valued part of the Hawaiian melting pot. 
"Strokes of Time"
My fathers Kamaka Ukulele

One last tidbit: The iconic Hawaiian ukuleles were made in Hawaii, but they were originally made by Portugese immigrants as early as 1879, not by the Hawaiians. They were based on a similar instrument found in Portugal called a cavaquinho. 

Well, as the Portuguese say…“belas palavers, ñao preencher a barriga” (fine words don’t fill the belly.) So, let’s eat!

Roasted Tomatoes with Eggs and Sausage
This Portuguese brunch recipe is a nice change from the usual eggs and bacon. You will need 2 large ripe tomatoes, preferably from your garden.

2 large ripe tomatoes, cut in half
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
chopped parsley
10 pitted black olives chopped
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
black pepper, freshly grated
dried oregano
4 fried eggs
1 Portuguese sausage (linguica, blood sausage, or chorizo) thinly sliced and fried
2 limes

Cut the tomatoes in halves. Place them with cut side up in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with salt and a little olive oil. Then put it in a 375˚F preheated oven for 40 minutes. Mix the garlic, parsley, olives and bread crumbs. Season with pepper. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the mixture. Then sprinkle again with two tablespoons of olive oil. Put it all in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes. Fry the eggs and sausage slices in a little olive oil. Place a fried egg on top of each roasted tomato and put thin slices of sausage next to it. Surround the tomato and sausage slices with a few watercress leaves sprinkled with lime juice, olive oil and a little salt. Don't forget to grind black pepper and/or dried oregano on top of the eggs immediately before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Portuguese Fish Stew
This is a delicious hearty rustic fish stew (Caldeirada de Peixe), the way the Portuguese would have made it.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 leeks, washed to removed interior soil and coarsely chopped
1 bulb fennel, white parts only, coarsely chopped
5 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 bay leaf
Zest of 1 orange
1 quart fish stock or water, or an 8-ounce bottle of clam juice plus 3 cups water
2 cups dry white wine
Scant 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 pounds mixed white, non-oily boneless fish and shellfish, or just fish

Heat the oil in a large stockpot, add the onions and leeks, and sauté in olive oil until fostered. Add the fennel and garlic and sauté until aromatic. Add all the remaining ingredients except the fish and shellfish and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

While the stock is simmering, cut the fish into bite-size portions. Bring the stock back to a rapid boil, add the fish, and cook for 1 minute. Add the shellfish (if using) and continue to boil until shells open, approximately 1 minute. Shake the pan occasionally to encourage clam and mussel shells to open. If using shrimp, turn off the heat as soon as all the shrimp lose their gray translucency; any longer and they quickly become tough and overcooked. Depending on your pot and burner, this will probably be about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot with crusty bread. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Portuguese Mussels, Shrimp 
and Sausage Stew with White Wine
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves minced
1 small spicy Portuguese sausage, peeled and diced
1 green pepper diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 bay leaf
6 ounces tomato paste
1/2 750ml bottle of dry white wine (I use Pino Grigio or a Pouilly-Fuissé, see Note below)
1 pound of mussels
1 pound of shrimp, shelled
1 small bunch of fresh parsley
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 loaf of crusty bread

Add olive oil, onion and sausage to a large heavy pan. Turn heat to medium high and brown onion and sausage. Add minced garlic, diced green pepper and large tomato and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add bay leaf, tomato paste and wine and stir on medium heat until the sauce is blended well. Add mussels and shrimp and cover pot. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Discard any unopened Mussels. Sprinkle with parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with hot crusty bread, and more wine. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: You might as well buy 2 or 3 bottles of wine while you're at it and make sure it's cold!

Portuguese Bean Soup
This is a delicious hearty rustic soup/stew, the way the Portuguese would have made it.

2 ham hocks
1 10-ounce mild Portuguese sausage, thickly sliced
1 chorizo sausage, peeled and broken into pieces
1 medium onion, minced
2 quarts water (8 cups)
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 celery rib, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can whole stewed tomatoes, broken with your hands
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup cider vinegar
3 to 4 cups cabbage, roughly cut
2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place ham hock, sausages, onion, and water into a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 hour, covered. Take ham hocks out and remove the meat, roughly chop, and return to soup, discard bones. Stir in potatoes, celery, carrots, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic and vinegar. Cover, and continue simmering for 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in cabbage and kidney beans, cook until the cabbage has softened, about 10 minutes. Taste, then add salt and pepper and more water if needed. Serve with a garden salad and fried bread (recipes below). Makes about 10 servings.

Note: The photo above shows macaroni in the soup, many Portuguese soup recipes have macaroni in them. I decided to take it out of the recipe because it gets mushy, and I can't believe that the Azoreans used pasta in their soup anyway. If you still want to use it, use 2/3 of a cup of uncooked macaroni and put it in the soup with the potatoes.

Portuguese Sausage in Whiskey Sauce
2 large packages Portuguese Sausage
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whiskey (I use Maker's Mark bourbon, but use whatever you like)
1 cup ketchup

Mix sugar, whiskey and ketchup in pot and simmer about 15-20 minutes. This can be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to use. When ready, cut sausage in bite size pieces, put in baking pan, add sauce, cover with foil and bake until heated (350˚F for about 1/2 to 3/4 hour). Makes 8 servings.

Roasted Fish with Cilantro and Cherry Tomatoes
In Portugal you would use a sea bream for this recipe, but in Hawaii, I would suggest moi. Moi is a delicious, delicate Hawaiian fish that was once reserved only for royalty, it is now farm raised on the Big Island, and available in many stores here.

2 pounds whole moi, cleaned and scaled, or other white fish
suitable for roasting in the oven: Onaga, Ono, or Opakapaka
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges
16 cherry tomatoes
sprigs of cilantro
2 stalks of rosemary
olive oil
salt and peppercorns to taste

Stuff garlic, rosemary and lemon wedges in the belly of the fish. To prepare the wrapper, place a sheet of parchment paper on top of an aluminum foil sheet. Place the parchment paper and foil on a cookie sheet. On top of the parchment paper sheet, place a sprigs of cilantro and then on top of that place the fish after being seasoned with salt. Sprinkle the fish with chopped garlic and sprigs of cilantro. Place the cherry tomatoes around the fish. Sprinkle with peppercorns. Sprinkle with olive oil and close the wrapper tightly. Put the cookie sheet with the fish into a preheated 400˚F oven for 40 minutes. Makes 4 serving.

Baked Portuguese Potatoes
3 cups water
1 or 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 or 2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
4 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 pound of chorizo (spanish pork sausage)

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Pour water into a roasting pan. Add vinegar to taste. The water should have just a hint of vinegary taste. Sprinkle paprika over the water and mix, removing the lumps. Add salt, pepper, onion, tomato, parsley and potatoes. Remove the casing from the chorizo and break apart the meat, add to other ingredients. Bake for 2 hours. Do not cover potatoes because they will steam and not roast. The potatoes will have a nice red color when they are done. Makes 6 servings.

Portuguese Sausage Stuffing
This stuffing is great with turkey, chicken, duck, whatever.

1/4 pound thick-sliced slab bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1 pound chourico, linguica, or dry-cured smoked Spanish chorizo, roughly chopped
Olive oil, if needed

2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 cup button mushrooms, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2/3 cup dry white wine (a friend of mine prefers a red port, Sandeman Founders Reserve)

3 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons tomato paste
12 cups 3/4-inch cubes of day-old rustic bread

About 3 cups chicken stock
2 hard cooked eggs, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Turkey giblets (see note below)

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring often, until the fat has rendered and the meaty bits are crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Pour off all but a thin film of fat from the pot into a cup and reserve. Turn heat to medium-high, add the sausage, and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat, adding it to the bacon fat. If the pan is dry, add 2 tablespoons of oil.

Lower the heat to medium, add the onions and mushrooms and cook until soft, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute more. Splash in the wine, add the paprika and tomato paste, scrape up any stuck-on bits, then simmer for a few minutes.

Turn the heat to low, add the bread and the reserved bacon and sausage fats, then gradually pour in just enough of the chicken stock to make the mixture moist. If you use all the liquid and the pot is still dry, add a little juice from the olive jar as necessary. Fold in the bacon, and sausage. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Scoop the dressing into a bowl and sprinkle with the eggs, olives and parsley. Makes 8 servings.

Note: If you have, and like turkey giblets, cook them with the chicken stock, chop them up, and add them to the stuffing. Personally I love giblets, but my wife doesn't, so one year we will make it with and the next without. Enjoy!

Portuguese Corn Bread
Portuguese Corn Bread (Broa) is a rustic, dense part-corn loaf that's perfect for sopping up hearty soups and stews. It is not at all like the American Southern cornbread, which is quite sweet, and leavened with baking soda and powder.

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups stone-ground or standard cornmeal
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Cornmeal for pizza peel and dusting the top

Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast and salt with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook). If you're not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapse (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 10 days.

On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Flatten slightly and allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel for 40 minutes.

Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat a baking stone to 450˚F, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.

Just before baking, sprinkle the loaf liberally with cornmeal and slash a cross, "scallop," or tic-tac-toe pattern in the top, using a serrated bread knife. Leave the cornmeal in place for baking; tap some of it off before eating.

Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray, and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 30 minutes, until deeply browned and firm. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in baking time. Allow to cool before slicing or eating. Makes four 1-pound loaves. This recipe is easily doubled or halved.

Portuguese Fried Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add milk, and mix well. Divide dough into 16 balls. Pat out on a flat, floured surface to 1/2 inch thick. Fry in 1/2 inch hot oil, browning both sides. Serve warm. Makes 16 rolls.

Black-Eyed Peas and Tuna Salad
This is a wonderful, and easy Portuguese salad for two. You can add other things to it if you like: hard cooked egg wedges, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, or capers.

2 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin half moons (about 1/2 cup)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 7-ounce cans solid white albacore tuna packed in water (I use Kirkland brand)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lettuce leaves, Boston or romain, to form a cup to put the salad in
Rustic crispy crackers, like Wasa, multi grain crispbread

In a small bowl, whisk the oil and vinegar until blended. In a large serving bowl, combine the beans, onion, garlic, and all but 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Pour in the dressing and toss to coat. Fold in the tuna, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours for the flavors to blend. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving. Take a taste. Add a splash of oil or vinegar or season with salt and pepper, if needed. Toss, sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoon of parsley. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves with crackers on the side. Makes 2 large servings.

Sardine and Celery Salad
I love canned sardines, and they are very good for you, rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This simple salad uses canned sardines and celery to create a wonderful Portuguese side dish or a nifty little lunch.

1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Four 4 3/8-ounce cans sardines in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
4 large celery ribs, peeled and cut into 1-inch matchsticks
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large bowl, mix the parsley with the olive oil, grainy and Dijon mustards, red onion and the lemon juice and zest. Fold in the sardines and celery and season with salt and pepper. Chill and serve with rye crackers. Makes 4 servings.

Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts)
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white sugar
6 egg yolks
1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
paper muffin liners

Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Insert paper muffin liners in 12 muffin cups (you can just spray the muffin tins with vegetable spray, but they are easier to get out if you use liners). Cut squares of puff pastry and insert into muffin liners, pressing with your thumbs from the bottom to the sides so the pastry is thinner at the bottom. Put the tins in the fridge while you work on the filling. In a saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg yolks. Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Fill pastry-lined muffin cups with mixture and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is lightly browned on top. Eat them warm, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon on top, as is traditional in Portugal. Makes 12 tarts.

Pudim de Ovos (Portuguese Egg Pudding)
1 cup sugar for caramel sauce
4 cups of milk
12 eggs
3 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon of flour
zest of one lemon or orange

In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water over low heat. With the back of a wooden spoon, keep sugar moving constantly in saucepan until sugar is completely melted, and of a rich medium brown color (caramelized). Pour the caramel into an ovenproof mold or bunt pan, rolling it around the sides to coat the mold evenly. Preheat oven to 400˚F. In a bowl beat the eggs until frothy. Combine the sugar, the flour, and the lemon/orange zest and beat the mixture into the eggs. Add the milk and mix again. Pour the custard into the caramelized mold. Place the mold in a larger pan and add water to come halfway up the sides of the mold. Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center of the custard comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Then place it in refrigerator tree hours. Carefully unmold the pudding on a plate by putting a plate on top of the mold and carefully turning it upside down. Makes about 8 servings.

Lavadores are Portuguese sweet lemon cookies. They are named "washboard cookies" because of the fork marks on each cookie.

1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar for rolling the cookies in before baking

Preheat your oven to 350˚F. With medium-high speed of an electric mixer or by hand, cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each, until the batter is fluffy and pale yellow, about 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the grated lemon peel. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, stirring to distribute the ingredients evenly. Using a wooden spoon, fold the flour into the egg batter. Mix well. Gently knead the dough in the bowl for about 5 minutes. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a shallow dish. Shape pieces of dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll balls in the sugar to cover, and place on parchment-lined or lightly greased cookie sheets, 1 inch apart. Flatten gently with the tines of a fork to make horizontal lines. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a light golden color. Makes about 48 cookies.

Candied Papaya
This is a classic Portuguese dessert from the Cape Verde Islands called "Dulce de Papaya". It is important not to use ripe papaya in this recipe, or it will disintegrate in the cooking process.

2 pounds almost ripe papaya
1 pound white sugar
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
4 cups water
1 lemon, grated zest

Peel the almost ripe papaya, remove the seeds and cut the flesh either into strips or into 1" cubes.

Combine the water and sugar in a large pot. Heat until the sugar has dissolved then add the papaya pieces along with the cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon zest. Bring to a heavy simmer and cook over medium-low heat without stirring until the sugar becomes a thick syrup (about 20 minutes).

At this point take the pan off the heat and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Put the papaya and syrup mixture into a jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. It is typically served as a dessert with cottage cheese, cream cheese or thick yogurt, or as a sweet filling in fried empanadas (wonton wrappers stuffed with candied papaya then sealed with a little water and fried, then dusted while still hot, with cinnamon sugar). Delicious, but my favorite is to serve heated candied papaya over cream cheese filled crepes, with candied papaya and syrup over the top, then dusted with confectioners sugar (crepe recipe below).

Crêpes originated in France, they are paper thin pancakes with a filling. They can be used as a dessert, for example, filled with cream cheese mixed with confectioner's sugar and a little vanilla extract, then covered with candied papaya (recipe above), or savory fillings, like crepes filled with spinach, ricotta cheese and pepperoni. Similar to tortillas or other flat breads, they make a wonderful delicate wrapping for foods from different countries all over the world, including Portugal. For more information on Crêpes, click here.

1 cup wheat flour or all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat 1% milk
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons butter, melted
2 large eggs

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Combine milk, water, melted butter, and eggs in a blender. Add the flour mixture to milk mixture, and process until smooth. Cover batter; chill for 1 hour.

Heat an 8-inch nonstick crepe pan or skillet over medium heat. Pour a scant 1/4 cup batter into pan; quickly tilt pan in all directions so batter covers pan with a thin film. Cook about 1 minute. Carefully lift the edge of the crepe with a spatula to test for doneness. The crepe is ready to turn when it can be shaken loose from the pan and the underside is lightly browned. Turn crepe over, and cook for 30 seconds or until center is set.

Place crepe on a towel; cool completely. Repeat procedure with the remaining batter, stirring batter between crepes. Stack crepes between single layers of wax paper to prevent sticking. Makes 13 crepes.

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