We don’t often hear about Portuguese cuisine as one of the worlds cuisines. We hear a lot about Chinese cuisine, Indian cuisine, Japanese cuisine and Mexican cuisine, but not about Portuguese cuisine. I often wonder why, given it is one of the richest. Here is the thing, you see, Portuguese people love to eat, so they made an art out of it.
I compare Portuguese cuisine a lot with Mexican, because it’s very rich in flavors, hot, spicy and a lot about abundance. You must have an indefinite amount of entrees and soup and main course and dessert. And people, literally, can go and on sitting at a table eating and drinking and talking for hours and hours.
The range of Portuguese cuisine is also interesting: it is very Mediterranean so while it privileges the grilled fish and steaks, just seasoned with salt and lemon and also the salads with lettuce and tomato, and obviously shellfish, it is also about casseroles and roasts and soups, all kind of imaginable soups. Then you have the pastry. The most recipes came from old convents, where a lot of desserts and all sorts of pastries were perfect. It is really heavenly and there are really must tries.
Getting to know Portuguese cuisine is amazing and surely, if you try, you will be a fan.
Starting by the top
So, when you get people together at your home, which for me is quite often, you really must have quite a few dishes prepared to amaze and delight. I leave you with one of my family’s recipes that always appeals to my guests. I usually serve this as a starter and it’s always highly praised. But it can also be a main course, if you find something to go with it or it can also be a tidbit.
It’s not difficult to do, but it takes time. I’m talking about CHICKEN GIZZARDS.
If you find Chicken gizzards are strange and you wonder how can people eat them, well, forget about that, just try to you’ll have your answer.
First of all go to a reliable butcher and buy a 1 kilo/2.2 pounds of chicken gizzards, then you’ll have to take some time cleaning them properly with hot water, that’s usually what I find most annoying, but once that is done it’s really easy.
- 1 Kilo / 2.2 pounds of chicken gizzards
- 1 Onion
- 4 Garlic cloves
- Olive oil
- Cloves (4)
- 1 Chili pepper
- Pepper at taste
- Paprika at taste
- Salt at taste
- ½ l of white wine
- 100 grs of bacon
- 100 grs of a “Chouriço” (please be aware that “chouriço” is a tradittional portuguese pork sausage, it is smoked sausage, which you can actually eat without cooking. Adding it to the chicken gizzards gives a great taste, but you should look for this particular kind of sausage)
In a medium-large saucepan heat your olive oil ( pour in the pan until its bottom is covered ) and add minced onions and 4 minced garlic cloves. Sauté for 10 minutes over medium heat until you find the onion has passed the translucent stage and is turning already a bit yellowish.
Then add salt and pepper to taste, 4 cloves and a red chilli pepper (can be dried).
About the red chilli pepper it’s important to mention you should add it whole if you are not into the really hot, hot stuff. If you slice it, you will really feel the heat while heating. So, it really depends on your taste.
Add the chicken gizzards, reduce the heat and let them simmer for a while, stirring with the spoon every now and then.
In the meantime finely slice the “Chouriço” and cut the bacon into cubes. As soon as you are done, add these two ingredients to the pan. Afterwards, cover all the ingredients on the pan with white wine (around 1/2 l).
Increase the heat to the maximum and allow it to boil and as soon as it starts to boil reduce the heat to the minimum medium and let it simmer for two hours.
Once the two hours have gone by the wine will have reduced and thicken to a gravy look (If it is still not thick enough, increase the heat for a while, until it has the right consistency). Taste the gravy to see if it is to your liking or if you should add some more salt or pepper for instance. If you find it is to your liking, you’re done.
Once it's ready
Just serve it alongside some bread, since it’s great to dip the bread in the gravy you get from cooking the gizzards. Once you try this you’ll find out you just can’t get enough. Choose a nice wine to pair with the gizzards or just go with beer, it’s great.
If you store the cooked gizzards in the fridge for two or three days, but you can also freeze it for longer periods of time. Whenever you feel like eating gizzards unfreeze them at room temperature and re-heat them.
If you keep them in the fridge overnight and serve them only the day after you cooked them, the flavour will be even better.
To wrap it up
Chicken gizzards is a traditional Portuguese dish very well liked, specially sided by a nice cold beer or a glass of wine. It is present in every Portuguese “Tasca” (I will get to these later) and also a lot of fancy restaurants, because it basically appeals to everybody.
It is customary on a night out to have a break from bars, in the middle of the night, to go somewhere and eat some chicken gizzards and other typical titbits. So, titbit or entrée, lunch, dinner or the middle of the night, you just won’t get enough of them, so have a try.
Hope you enjoy!
Stay tuned for more Portuguese cuisine recipes.
Next: Very easy and simply delicious… A summer must… Donax (cockles).
You can also see:
Other portuguese recipes (go to the Food and Recipes group theme)
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© 2011 Joana e Bruno
bearmon2010 on October 09, 2013:
Portuguese cuisine rules! I am Portuguese from Portugal and I have seen a lot about Chinese cuisine, Indian cuisine, Japanese cuisine and Mexican cuisine, but not about Portuguese cuisine. I wonder ?? Simple, the Portuguese cuisine is being ignored by many people. A closed mind people that is. They should check it out and its my favorite and I lived in America. I don't like here. I am going back to Portugal soon (less than 3 years from now) because Europe is awesome for many reasons.
I always ate chicken gizzard stew with cubed potatoes and Portuguese rices in it along with Portuguese bread on side for dip the sauce. DELICIOUS! Please try it! We, Portuguese, deserve the attention and keep your mind open. I am not talking about BRAZIL. The America needs to know about Portuguese from Portugal foods as well. :D
Lesley on June 16, 2013:
I have just returned from the beautiful Algarve and the Alentejo. I visit Portugal every year and there is nothing sad about that. If anyone hasn't been they must go, even. I advise it. You need to taste it for yourself.
Joana e Bruno (author) from Algarve, Portugal on March 13, 2013:
Hello, Jordan, I hope you like it. Thanks a lot for reading and commenting! Have a great day!
Jordan p on January 18, 2013:
I am Portuguese, can' wait to cook this recipe. Heading out to get what I need. I will post after I eat. Thank you.
Joana e Bruno (author) from Algarve, Portugal on April 17, 2012:
Hi, Lita, thanks for reading and commenting. Your recipe seems very interesting, I would love to learn how to cook chicken gizzards your way and I hope you like my recipe. Have a great day! All the best!
Lita C. Malicdem from Philippines on April 16, 2012:
Filipinos normally cook chicken gizzards into a recipe called "adobo"- putting all ingredients like garlic, onions, vinegar, black pepper, soy sauce, and salt to taste together with the gizzards, producing an oily sauce when done. I'll try your recipe although I will have to use the "chorizo de bilbao" instead which is easy to find here in our country. I love the idea of white wine instead of vinegar. Thanks for sharing this!
Joana e Bruno (author) from Algarve, Portugal on December 16, 2011:
Hello, Steve, thank you for your comment. Hope you try it (if you haven't already) and perhaps you can advise on a good wine to go with it.
steveamy from Florida on December 16, 2011:
Having grown up in the northeast Portuguese food was available... as were the wines which were and are still bargains...Look forward to more recipes