Portugal is located in the continent of Europe. It has Spain to the north and east, Morocco to the far south, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and northwest.
The capital is Lisbon.
The official language Portuguese.
The climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, continental (Mesetan), and the Mediterranean Sea. In the northern region summer temperatures average 76F, the winter temperatures average 40F. The northwest region receives much precipitation, while the southern regions have seasonal precipitation.
The staple foods are cod (and other fish), potatoes, chickpeas, green veggies, tomatoes, onions, rice, and many more delicious foods (https://elearn.fiu.edu/e-dev/WorldExplorer/Customs/Europe/Portugal.htm#:~:text=The%20staple%20foods%20in%20Portugal,potatoes%2C%20which%20are%20called%20pasteis).
BAKED COD PORTUGUESE (https://www.food.com/recipe/baked-cod-portuguese-369638):
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 1 green pepper, cored and chopped
- One 14 oz. can tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tsp paprika
- 4 cod steaks or 4 fillets
- Chopped fresh parsley (to garnish)
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375F or 190C and grease an ovenproof dish.
- Sprinkle the cod with salt, pepper and garlic powder then set aside.
- Fry the onion, garlic and pepper in a pan to soften. Add the tomatoes and paprika and simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce is thickened.
- Taste and add salt and pepper if required.
- Put the cod in the dish, pour the tomato sauce over and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the cod is cooked. Sprinkle the parsley over and serve.
ACORDA ALENTEJANA (Portuguese Bread Soup) (https://www.food.com/recipe/acorda-alentejana-portuguese-bread-soup-471989):
- 1 lb. sturdy rustic-style bread, stale if possible and torn into 1 to 2-inch chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- 6 C water
- 4 eggs
- 4 TBSP olive oil
- Black pepper, to taste
- If the bread isn’t already stale, spread the chunks on a baking sheet and dry out in a 250-degree F oven for about an hour.
- Process the garlic, cilantro and ½ tsp salt to a paste in a food processor (or use a mortar and pestle if you feel like a workout).
- Spoon into the bottom of a large, heatproof serving bowl or a soup tureen.
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Poach the eggs in it, one at a time, removing to a plate when the whites have set but the yolks are still runny.
- Pour the still-boiling water (don’t worry about any egg bits in it) over the garlic-cilantro paste in the bowl, stir to combine, and add the oil and more salt to taste.
- Add the bread and let soak for 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary, or more water if it seems too thick; there should be broth to slurp.
- Top the soup with the poached eggs and serve immediately.
PASTÉIS DE NATA (Portuguese Custard Tarts) (https://www.daringgourmet.com/pasteis-de-nata-portuguese-custard-tarts/):
- 1 batch Rough Puff Pastry (see homemade recipe below – it’s easy! Or use 1 lb. store-bought puff pastry)
For the Custard:
- 2/3 C water
- 1-1/4 C granulated sugar
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- Rind of one large lemon, cut into wide strips
- 1-1/4 C whole milk
- ¼ C all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 large eggs
- 1 tsp quality pure vanilla extract
- Place the water, sugar, cinnamon and lemon rind in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer – without stirring – until it reaches 220-degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
- Remove from the heat and let it cool for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- In a separate medium saucepan scald the milk (heat until up to the boiling point but don’t let it boil).
- Turn off the heat and add the flour and salt to the hot milk and whisk constantly until the mixture is nice and thick.
- Add the egg yolks and whisk until combined. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Remove the cinnamon and lemon rind from the syrup. In a thin, steady stream pour the syrup into the egg/flour mixture, whisking constantly. The custard will be very thin, this is normal.
- Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve to strain out any chunky bits.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use. You can make this in advance and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Prepare the Pastry Dough:
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll the pastry dough out to roughly a 11×14 inch rectangle. Beginning at the short end, roll up the pastry dough, rolling it tightly as you go along. Wrap the pastry roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Assemble the Tarts:
- Preheat the oven to the highest temperature it will go (I heated mine to 525 degrees F).
- Use a pastry cutter or sharp knife to cut the pastry log into about 3/4 inch thick rounds. (Cut a thin layer off each end and discard.)
- Use a standard size nonstick muffin pan. Depending on how full you fill the tarts this recipe makes about 16 tarts so you may need a second muffin pan.
- Place a pastry round in each tin. Use your thumbs to press the pastry down and up the sides to the very top to fit the mold.
- Pour the prepared custard into each pastry case to about 3/4 of the way full. Don’t fill them too full or the custard will overflow onto the rims of the tart crusts.
- Place the pan on the middle rack of the preheated oven.
- Depending on the max temperature of your oven, bake for about 14-16 minutes (my oven was set to 525 degrees F). You’ll know the tarts are done when the tops are nicely scorched, and the filling is set.
- Remove from the oven and let the tarts cool for about 8-10 minutes before removing them.
- Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and a small pinch of cinnamon if desired.
These pastries are best eaten warm the same day they are baked.