Ingredient notes

Ingredient notes

By
Rebecca Seal
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781784881030
Photographer
Steven Joyce

Parsley should always be flat-leaf parsley rather than the curly-leaf variety. Coriander (cilantro) in particular should be as fresh as possible, as it quickly takes on an ‘off’ or soapy flavour. Lots of dishes include the stalks of herbs as well as leaves, finely chopped and added earlier in the cooking process.

Where possible, use free-range and organic medium-sized eggs.

Onions are all medium-sized white onions, unless otherwise stated.

Portuguese cooking often involves ground paprika, made from dried red bell peppers. Unless the jar says it is hot or smoked, it is considered sweet, and is used for its flavour rather than for imparting heat. Where hot or smoked paprika is needed, I have said so in the recipe.

Carolino rice is grown in Portugal and is used in short-grain rice dishes, although it is gradually being eclipsed by cheaper rice varieties from overseas (agulho is a longer grain rice, also grown in Portugal). It is quite similar to arborio or risotto rice, and I’ve specified alternatives in the recipes in which it is included, but it is possible to buy it outside Portugal. The Portuguese eat more rice per head than any other European country, so it has a vital place in the Portuguese kitchen.

Where possible, use free-range, organic or high-welfare meats, as well as fish and seafood from sustainable fisheries.

Flavourless oil in the ingredients list refers to vegetable, sunflower or groundnut oil. Any of those will be suitable to use.

In the past, the quality of Portuguese beef wasn’t seen as being particularly high, and it’s still not used in cooking as much as poultry and pork, which are the most popular meats. Lamb and goat are not as common here as they are in other southern European countries either, and are usually stewed or simply roasted, perhaps with a little piri piri, onions, garlic and bay leaves.

Cured meats and sausages are just as important as fresh meat in Portuguese cooking. Chouriço is the Portuguese version of the perhaps better known Spanish chorizo, which is easy to find in butchers and supermarkets. Buy the best quality you can find – chouriço should be deep red in colour, rich in fat but also meaty and full of flavour. Cheaper dried versions in particular can be insipid or sour-tasting and some supermarket ‘chorizo-style’ sausages are little more than ordinary pork sausages coloured with a little paprika.

Linguica is another spiced and sometimes smoked pork sausage, and can be harder to find outside Portugal, where it is often made at home anyway. You can use it in place of cooking chouriço (chorizo) if you are lucky enough to find some, especially in savoury rice dishes or soups.

It is important to note that I use a fan oven. If you use a conventional oven you may need to increase your temperatures by 20°C. Do check your manufacturer's instructions if you can.

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