Alheira poultry sausage meatballs with apple sauce

Alheira poultry sausage meatballs with apple sauce

Bolinhos de alheira e maca

By
From
Lisbon
Serves
4 as part of a spread of petiscos
Photographer
Steven Joyce

This recipe was given to me by Sandra Valente and Caterina Silva, chefs and brilliant teachers at Kiss the Cook, a cookery school in the LX Factory, located just under the red suspension bridge over the river Tagus.

Alheira is a smoked poultry sausage, seasoned with paprika and garlic, which has a fascinating and rather dark history: during the Inquisition, Portuguese Jews disguised themselves as Christian converts by hanging sausages made with chicken or game instead of pork in their smokehouses and fireplaces to fool inquisitors. Later the practice spread to the Jews’ Christian neighbours, and now alheira is one of Portugal’s most beloved ingredients. If you can’t find it in the shops, it is easy to find online.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
6 sprigs rosemary
200ml boiling water
50g butter
2 tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cubed
100g caster sugar, or to taste
4 alheira sausages
vegetable oil, for cooking
plain flour, for rolling

Method

  1. First, make a rosemary infusion: place 2 of the rosemary sprigs in a heatproof jug with the boiling water and leave to infuse.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, then add the remaining rosemary and the chopped apple along with a few tablespoons of the rosemary infusion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and falling apart. Mash the mixture; if it seems too thick, thin it with a little more rosemary water. Add the sugar gradually, tasting as you go – you may not need all of it. Remove from the heat and keep warm while you cook the meatballs.
  3. Split the sausage casings and remove the meat (discard the casings), then use your hands to roll 4–6 meatballs from each one. Place a wide, deep pan over a high heat and fill with about 5 cm of oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering, pour a little flour onto a plate, then roll each meatball in it. Carefully lower 4–5 meatballs into the hot oil. Cook for 2 minutes before turning the meatballs and cooking for a further couple of minutes; when ready they will be golden all over. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Keep warm while you cook the rest. Serve with the warm apple sauce.
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