Portugal: Frango na pucara (chicken in a pot), punched potatoes and arroz doce (sweet rice pudding)
Portugal is one (of many) countries that I would love to visit someday. I can speak a few words of Portuguese, so it made it extra fun to cook Portuguese food and have some sense of how to pronounce the names of the dishes I made!
The entree I made is frango na pucara (frango is “chicken” in Portuguese). I combined different aspects of several recipes, but the primary one is I used is here. This is a hearty, warm, comforting one-pot stew. Although it’s supposed to be made in a clay pot, my Dutch oven worked just fine.
Potatoes are often served with this dish, and I found a fun recipe: Punched potatoes! You literally punch the potatoes! This cracked me up. You use baby yellow potatoes, which are so darn cute. First you boil them, then spread them on a baking sheet and punch them before sprinkling them with salt and olive oil to then roast in the oven. I punched one of them and hurt my knuckle, so decided to use a spoon to “punch” the rest 🙂 . These are inexpensive, easy, tasty, and fun to eat!
For dessert I made arroz doce, with means “sweet rice” and is a sweet rice pudding made on the stovetop. I love rice pudding, and although this was a bit sweeter than I usually like things, the lemon in it is so wonderful. You use lemon peel slices to scent the rice while it cooks, and it makes for great flavor.
I used this recipe which included the tip on how to make cinnamon circles on top of the pudding. Cute, huh? This recipe suggested serving the arroz doce with grilled mandarins. I broiled mine instead, and the carmelized mandarins added a nice bitter complement to the sweetness of the pudding. I also served it with raspberries because I love lemon and raspberry together.
One of the recipes for the frango called for red pepper flakes, and I wish I had used them, but I didn’t. I think that would have added a nice kick to the stew – it was flavorful but would have been even better with some heat. The rice pudding was really sweet, I would use less sugar next time. Also, the recipe makes a lot of rice pudding, so unless you’re feeding a crowd, halve the recipe.