This cold and frosty weather calls for comfort food to warm up our hearts. In Portugal there’s a wide array of traditional dishes that are perfect for winter days.
In this article you’ll find some examples of Portuguese comfort food that will surely win you over.
Sopas - Soups
What’s best than a hot bowl of soup and a crispy slice of bread to warm up? Portuguese are known for their soups, no matter the season. In a Portuguese home it’s common to have soup before the main course and when visiting the country you’ll find at least one soup option in every single menu.
There are many delicious ones across the country and here we leave you a few options that easily replace a full meal. Canja de galinha is a broth with shredded chicken and noodles and it's considered the best weapon to fight a cold. Caldo verde is a very typical soup made with a potato base, shredded cabbage and slices of chorizo and it is a favourite, particularly on traditional festivities. Another great option is sopa de peixe, a tomatoey soup with chunks of white fish, which is quite common in the southwest of the country. For the gutsy ones there's papas de sarrabulho, a kind of soup made with blood, red vinho verde, bread, cold meats and chicken stock. Last but not least, there's sopa de tomate, which is a rich tomato soup traditional from Alentejo, often served with a poached egg.
Assados - Roasts
Cold weather means staying in and slow cooking. Roasts are a great solution for a long family meal and they're perfect for winter!
In Portugal you always have two main options: meat or fish. When it comes to meat we have to highlight cabrito - roasted goatling -, chanfana - lamb cooked inside a clay pot -, and leitão - piglet. They're often roasted in wood fired ovens which gives them a smokey flavour and an extra crunch. Near the coast octopus and grilled fish are always a good bet. The winners are polvo à lagareiro - oven roasted octopus - and the famous codfish, being our favourite bacalhau assado na brasa, which is codfish roasted on the bbq. Another special recipe is robalo ao sal - sea bass cooked using an old technique which consists of covering the whole fish with rock salt and cooking it in the oven.
Guisados - Stews
Another picture perfect for a wintery day it's a steaming stew. In Portugal there are various options, but we will narrow your choices. For meat lovers, try ensopado de coelho, a rabbit stew with a strong and delicious flavour. If you rather go for fish don't miss caldeirada de peixe, a fish and seafood stew made with onions, tomatoes and "runny rice".
We know we said we'd narrow your choices, but we also have to mention ensopado de grão, a chickpea and beef stew, and favas com chouriço, broad beans with chorizo.
Vegetarians out there, there's no need to panic, we got you! The last two we mentioned are still delicious without the meat cuts or, if you're cheeky, you can replace them with another protein source or veggie of your choice.
If you're already mouthwatering by reading this, imagine trying them! When booking a trip with us, tick "Food&Wine" in the initial questionnaire and we will ensure to include some curiosities and special tips about our gastronomy in your bookpack :)