Posts Tagged ‘Pork’

Bifanas (Tender Pork Cutlets)

Bifanas are thin, tender slices of pork that are traditionally served on Portuguese bread as a sandwich and accompanied by their light cooking broth, similar to an au jus for dipping.  For full flavor and tenderness, make sure you have time to marinate the pork for several hours.

  • 1lb. Pork, thinly sliced (If possible, either DIY or ask your butcher to slice it as thin as ham)
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Pimenta Malagueta*, chopped
  • 6 Dashes Piri Piri* sauce
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 cup white wine (My mother in-law uses Vinho Verde, which is a “green” or young wine that is usually effervescent)
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 12-oz. Beer (Try a Portuguese lager, such as Super Bock)

In a bowl, mix the garlic, malagueta, piri piri, pepper, bay leaves, and wine.  Add pork, cover, and refrigerate for several hours.

Heat olive oil in a pan on medium.  Remove pork from marinade, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt.  Sear in hot pan on both sides.  Add marinade liquid, lemon, and beer to pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low heat, and simmer until sauce reduces, about a half hour.

Serve atop slices of Portuguese bread and dip into the au jus.


Febras de Porco Grelhadas (Grilled Pork Cutlets) with Massa de Pimentão (Sweet Red Pepper Paste) and Arroz de Manteiga (Buttered Rice)

Massa de Pimentão is a flavorful, salt-cured rub made from sweet red peppers and is best made at the end of summer when an abundance of peppers are ripening in the garden.  “But, it’s not summer,” I hear you protest.  “Ahh,” I reply, “I’m still using my last jar of Massa that I made last summer.”  What would I do if I hadn’t married into a Portuguese family?  I suppose not have all that sun-riped, organic pepper goodness all winter and spring.  Shiver.

First for the Massa de Pimentão.  When August comes again, I’ll post step-by-step instructions.  In the meantime, you can purchase it at a Portuguese market.  If you can’t wait, it’s easy enough to make from scratch from supermarket wares.  You’ll need some sweet red peppers, which is classic.  I’ve also had success with other pepper colors and hot peppers, but the final product will have a vastly different flavor.  Core, slice, place in a colander, and cover them completely in salt.  I’m talking pounds of salt.  Allow to to sit, drain, and desiccate.  After a few days, remove the shriveled peppers and shake off the crazy excess of salt.  Grind in a food processor until it’s a paste.  I store the stuff in an old glass jar that has been run through my dishwasher’s sanitize cycle with a healthy measure of olive oil on top.  I’d imagine hot water bath canning would work well, too.  It will keep in the refrigerator for many months.  Don’t worry if the olive oil turns whitish.  That often happens in cold temperatures.  Ps. “Homestyle Portuguese Cooking” offers a detailed recipe with exact measurements on p.166.

Use the Massa on just about anything pork.  I also think it’s good on chicken and beef.  Just take out a spoonful or so and rub it on.  Remember that it’s salty stuff so you won’t need any extra salt.  If the olive oil on top gets low, add some more to cover.

Then grill, saute, or roast as you normally would.

The closest recipe to tonight’s Pork Chop dinner is written on  p.100 of “Homestyle Portuguese Cooking.”  We served ours with Arroz de Manteiga, which is Buttered Rice, on p.145 and a simple spring salad.

Feijoada (Bean Stew)

There’s a lot of flexibility in feijoada. Let’s first take the “feijao” (beans): Traditional continental Portuguese recipes use white beans, Azoreans use kidney beans, Brazilian use black beans, and Americans put in whatever suits their fancy. Now the meat: Some type of sausage, which is traditionally linguiça or chouriço, but you can also add other cuts and cures of pork such as presunto, salpicao, chops, etc. Now for veggies: some onions and maybe a tomato or two, but you can get fancy and add some carrots or even cabbage. All of this is regional and personal-taste specific. Here’s my version, which really is basically what I had on hand tonight:

  • 3 Pork Chops
  • 6″ piece of chouriço, thickly sliced
  • Olive oil to fry
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 cup white wine (I used some Vinho Verde)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can cannelloni beans

Brown the meats in the olive oil. Remove from pan and set aside. Saute the onion, garlic, and carrots for a few minutes, scraping up the tasty browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and let simmer on the stovetop or bake in a 350F oven for 1 1/5 hours.


We served ours with rice and braised asparagus.  Yum!


And our favorite, everyday Portuguese wine, “Porca de Murça.”


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