Stuffed squid – Algarve’s Middle Eastern inherited recipe

Stuffed squid – Algarve’s Middle Eastern inherited recipe

While in London last summer, I had the pleasure to meet Bethany Kehdy at her book launch – The Jewelled Kitchen. This Middle Eastern cookbook was my travel companion back home, and I found quite surprisingly that the traditional Portuguese cuisine still honours on it’s repertoire at least two Middle Eastern inherited recipes: The Tomato soup with poached eggs (an Alentejo typical soup) and the Stuffed squid (a typical dish from Algarve).

The Jewelled Kitchen cookbook
The Jewelled Kitchen – a collection of Lebanese, Moroccan & Persian Recipes by Bethany Kehdy

The Portuguese versions of these two dishes are much lighter on spices. Spices were gold back then and only available at noble houses or convents, therefore I believe that the recipes were adapted to what was available to peasants.

While the Portuguese tomato soup with poached eggs (shakshoukah for the North African) keeps it’s inherited recipe untouched, the stuffed squid (stated by Bethany as an “example of the Levant’s flair for stuffing”) changes slightly by taking all spices out. The Portuguese version doesn’t use red chilli, dill leaves neither the lebanese seven spices, instead use as the only aromatic herb parsley. As per the stuffing we prefer the rice while the Middle Eastern recipe uses bulgur wheat.

With this recipe in mind and after several weeks roaming to the farmer’s market fishmonger for fresh squids and with the right size, I finally made it.

Ingredients
Serves 4 people
16 small squids
1 dl of olive oil
1 big onion
250g of ripe tomato
Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Parsley
16 wooden cocktail sticks

For Stuffing
1 big onion
2 garlic cloves
1 dl of olive oil
150 g of chouriço (portuguese chourizo)
250 g of ripe tomato
1/2 cup of rice
1 bay leaf
Salt
Parsley

Clean the Squids
1. Separate the tentacles from the bodies of the squids. Keep the tentacles.
2. Remove the guts from inside the bodies, and the coloured skin from outside.
3. Remove the two membranes from outside. Keep the membranes.
4. Rinse the squid under cold run water.
5. Rinse the tentacles and the membranes.
6. Chop the tentacles and membranes. Set them aside.

Squid tentacles and membranes
Set aside the squid tentacles and membranes for stuffing.

Stuffing
1. Peel and chop the onions.
2. Peel and chop the 1 garlic clove.
3. Peel and chop the tomatoes (keep the juices, do not drain the tomatoes)
4. Remove the skin and chop the chouriço.
5. Rinse the rice.
6. Chop the parsley.
7. Put a heavy saucepan on low heat, add the olive oil, the onion and the garlic clove, let it soft.
8. Add the tomatoes, and the bay leaf and let it cook, on a low heat.
9. Add the chopped tentacles, membranes and chouriço. Let it cook on a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Check the seasoning. Add fresh ground black pepper and salt if needed.
10. Add the rice, the parsley and stir for a few minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
11. Remove from the heat, let it cool before stuffing the squids.

Squid Stuffing
Preparing the squid stuffing
Uncooked stuffed squids
Uncooked stuffed squids

Assembling and cooking the squids
1. Stuff the squid with the mixture and secure using a wooden cocktail stick. Leave around 1/4 of the squid empty, otherwise while cooking the squid will crack.
2. Put a heavy saucepan on low heat, add the olive oil, the onion and the garlic clove, let it soft.
3. Add the tomatoes and let it cook, on a low heat, for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Add the stuffed squids, sprinkle with parsley and cover with a lid. Let them cook for about 1 hour on a very low heat. Shaking the saucepan occasionally.
5. Check seasoning. Add salt if needed.

Serve with boiled potatoes, chips or rice.

Bom Proveito! (Enjoy!)

Bolinhos Bacalhau – Salt Cod Cakes

Bolinhos Bacalhau – Salt Cod Cakes

One of the most emblematic portuguese dishes that you are able to find in any cafe or restaurant without season restrains. It’s a flag dish from the Minho cuisine and especially for Porto city. Known as “bolinhos de bacalhau” in the North of Portugal and named “pasteis de bacalhau” in the Centre and South of the country.

An excellent recipe for codfish leftovers, therefore one that is always on my mind for Christmas Day or the day after.

Ingredients for 4 people:
250 g desalted salt cod
200 g potatoes
1/2 onion
1 tbsp of fresh parsley
15 ml of Port wine
3 to 4 eggs
Salt
Pepper
Nutmeg
Oil to deep fry

How to:
1. Boil the potatoes until fork tender.
2. Peel the boiled potatoes; use a fork or a food processor to mash the potatoes.
3. Poach the salt cod in water for 5 minutes.
4. Remove skin and bones from the boiled salt cod.
5. Shred the cod with your hands, with a help of a kitchen cloth, or you can even use a kitchen pestle.
6. Chop the onion.
7. Chop the fresh parsley.
8. In a bowl combine the mashed potatoes, cod, chopped onion, chopped parsley, Port wine. Season with salt, fresh ground black pepper and grated nutmeg.
9. Add the eggs one at a time. The number of eggs will change accordingly with the quality of the potatoes.
10. With the help of two soup spoons form the cakes, and deep-fry them in oil.

pasteis_massa

codfishfritters_deepfry

codfish_pasteis

Serve the bolinhos de bacalhau with a green salad and a beans rice for a complete meal. Or simple as tapas or a snack.

You can also find them in the Brazilian cuisine, one of many Portuguese recipes that was merged into other cultures. It’s named “bolinhos de bacalhau” , but the way of doing it changes slightly: the desalted salt cod is used raw, and the mixture is done only with egg yolks, the whites are whisked into stiff peaks and then folded gently into the mixture.

Bom Proveito! (Enjoy it!)