My hubby is the 5th and final child of a woman who belongs to a very large Portuguese family.
Last weekend all the siblings and their spouses got together in Bodega Bay, to celebrate the 91st birthday of their lovely mother, Isabel.
It was a very fun night with good food, free flowing wine, and wonderful company. I love these family parties!
Turning to the internet for a Portuguese recipe that I could bring, I had a few ideas rattling around in my noggin. When discussing them with The Hubby, he informed me that he would like to take Sopas. When he was younger, he always had them at the Portuguese Festivals that his dad would take him to.
I have only made them once before but I never really got to taste them. You see, right before that dinner, I had a gall bladder attach and I never made it to the dinner table that night. So I was a little intimidated to make these for a family who all knew what they were suppose to taste like, when I had no clue.
Sopa is a Portuguese soup that is poured over a thick slice of day old bread and served with fresh mint. Tomato based, it’s flavored with the warm spices of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and cumin. Except in upscale restraints, beef in Portugal is not of the very best quality and is usually shoe leather tough; at least according to the cookbook, The Food of Portugal. Most of the country’s people actually prefer pork, chicken, and seafood. My recipe, made with beef chuck, it simmers on the stove for about 3, maybe 4 hours until tender, and it makes the house smell like a home!
I pulled from two different recipes and came up with my own! A little bit thicker then the original sopas that the family remembers, but a little beef broth to thin it could have fixed that. But my family liked it just the way it was.
Of course no dinner party is complete unless there is dessert. We had plenty.
My favorite? The Queijadas!
The Queijadas de Sintra is a cheese tart that was initially sold by street vendors in Sintra, a lush little town about 15 miles from Lisbon, Portugal. Originally, they were bite size tarts made with Queijo fresco, a smooth white sheep milk cheese that’s unavailable here in the states, but this recipe uses a fresh mozzarella. You would never even know there was cheese in this tart. It was unbelievably good. My SIL let me borrow her cookbook so I have the recipe and I cant wait to make it!
Here’s the recipe for Sopas. Think you want the Queijadas recipe???
Recipe by Megan’s Cookin’
- 2- 3 lbs chuck roast w/bone
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
- 32 oz can dices tomatoes
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons allspice or 10 allspice berries
- 1 teaspoon cloves or 10 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup red wine
- Coarse salt to taste
- 4-5 stems with leaves of fresh mint
- Thick sliced, day old French or Italian Bread (*see note)
Put roast in a Dutch oven and fill with water until roast is 3/4 covered up the sides. If using whole spice, tie them up in a piece of cheese cloth or put into a tea strainer. Add all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 hours or until meat easily shreds.
To serve: Shred the beef right in the pan with all the juices. Slice crusty Italian or French bread and place in soup bowls. Place bruised mint leaves on top of the bread. Ladle the meat and broth over the bread. Garnish with fresh mint and enjoy.
*Note:It is important that the bread is day old (hard), as this helps to prevent it falling apart and becoming mush once the sopa is poured over it.Print This Recipe