Monday, November 10, 2008
Today my world food for the home kitchen comes from the island of Saint Michael in the Azores by way of the large Portuguese communities of Southern New England.
This is an adaptation of a recipe that has become quite famous amongst my group of friends. Each year on the hottest day of the year (don't ask me how they continually accomplish this, but they do), the good folks of Saint Michael's parish on the North side of Fall River, Massachusetts throw their annual Portuguese feast or "fashtah" as we like to call it. This feast celebrates the Archangel Michael, the soldier angel that cast Satan into the fiery pit of hell. He's the only non-human saint, did you know that? I did, weird huh?
Anyway, the highpoint of the feast is not the parade (even though Mr. Raposo marches in it as one of the parish's elite), nor is it the many games or flower petal-decorated streets, it is not even the "carne espit" which is seasoned meat roasted on long metal skewers. No, the high point of the feast is the Portuguese dinner we have at the Raposo's house each year.
Space prohibits me from listing every delectable dish that we are presented with but standouts include Portuguese beef, braised quail, pork and clams, sweet rice, octopus stew and much, much more. Consensus among my many friends however decrees that principal and chief among the multitude of great dishes is Mrs. Raposo's roasted chourico and potatoes. It is a dish of simple and delicious perfection. It is always a topic of conversation at the table that day or on any other day of the year when someone cares to bring it up. It is worthy of an expenditure on great wine and good bread to enjoy along with it. It is one of those great food stuffs that though it is of simple ingredients, the finished product is sublime. It is a transcendent food. Below, you will find my adaptation of this recipe.
Chourico, in case you are not familiar with it, is a spicy Portuguese pork sausage. Similar to Spanish chorizo, but different enough to make a difference. Of course, you can make this dish with just about any similar spicy sausage, but if you can source it, I highly recommend chourico. It's a head-spinning delicious dish with it and you can even order it here.
Portuguese Roasted Chourico & Potatoes
2-1/2 to 3 lbs egg-sized potatoes (peeled)
3/4 cup peanut oil
2 tsp of Portuguese paprika (colourau)
1 cup white wine
2 medium sized onions (chopped)
6 cloves of garlic (chopped)
2 bay leaves
2 Tbs tomato paste
4 links of chourico (about 2 lbs)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 500°F.
Peel the potatoes and place them in a bowl of water while you prepare the other ingredients.
Mix the paprika in the peanut oil, blend it well. Set aside.
In a roasting pan (I use a 9" x 13" x 2" Pyrex), add the wine, onions, garlic, bay leaves and tomato paste. Be sure to blend all the ingredients well.
Space out the chourico links in the the roasting pan, then the potatoes equally around and between them.
Drizzle all of the peanut oil/paprika mixture over the potatoes.
Add as much chicken broth as needed until the liquid just over half covers the potatoes.
Place it in the oven until it reaches a boil. Then reduce the temperature to 350°F and continue cooking another 30 minutes.
Turn the potatoes and chourico over, then replace the pan in the oven and continue cooking another 15 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Remove from the oven allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then cut up chourico and return to pan. Coat all in the juices.
Serve with a hearty red wine and a good crusty bread.
Recipe: Portuguese Chourico and Potatoes from Chop Onions, Boil Water by Henry Krauzyk