Sunday, December 12, 2010

Eating the interesting bits

On Saturday night we went out to dinner at a new restaurant and I decided to try the papas de sarrabulho. One of our books translates papas to gruel. This was only the first thing about the meal that I was glad to learn afterwards instead of before.

We'd been told that papas was a sort of "pap" and it is a specialty of northern Portugal. Feeling adventurous, I ordered it along with the rojões à moda do Minho - pork cooked in wine. The rojões is a multitude of different cuts - there is the pork meat, the stuffed intestine pieces, and the slice of cooked congealed pork blood. The pork meat was really good, some of the best we've had. The intestine pieces were not bad, a bit chewy, but good flavor. The congealed blood is always a bit salty for my taste and, oddly, it has a dry texture. This also came with fried bread.

Smearing the papas over this, the potatoes, and the rice was great. The flavor was rich and meaty and, well, almost deep. There was a great cumin flavor - a spice we don't find very often in Portuguese food. You could tell there was a lot going on with it. It contains a fair amount of bread which gave it an interesting gluten-y texture - almost like potatoes that had been mashed for way too long. But the flavor was fantastic and I ate nearly the whole trough that they brought out.

The Portuguese white wines continue to impress. We again had the house white - served in a jug - and it is fantastic at cutting through the richness of most Portuguese foods. It helps cleanse your palate without stripping it bare. I am already sad about the lack of inexpensive yet fantastic Portuguese white vinho verde back home in Minnesota.

Being slaves to the Google, we did look up some recipes for papas de sarrabulho when we got home. They were all in Portuguese - so this dish hasn't yet become a staple in English speaking kitchens.

My favorite recipe makes a nice generous portion - 10 to 12 liters! Yes, what one does with 3 gallons of papas I don't know.

The great flavor comes from the beef, pork, and chicken and the spices - and the other interesting bits...

I encourage you to take a look at the translated recipe available here.


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