Rochelle Ramos serves up some Portuguese comfort food of smokey sausage, spring peas and eggs.
By Rochelle Ramos
Peas and eggs. Apart they remind me of spring, soft breezes after rain that turn the world green and awaken the hibernating flora and fauna. Together they now bring a whole whack of new images and words to the front of my mind. The most prominent of these are the words “comfort food”.
Back in Canada, where fall seemed to only last for a month before suddenly being cut off by winter snow which would last in bits and pieces until nearly summer, was where I was first introduced to this beautifully simple, healthy, tasty and comforting Portuguese dish. It was warm and satisfying and different. Best of all the marido was the one who made it, he who eats but doesn’t cook (usually).
I don’t know why I had never tried making it, only watched by craning my head around marido’s arm as he made it for the first time just from his childhood memories. Afterward, it was forgotten in my never ending search to try something new to cook.
Then we moved and I was reminded that not everything needs to have fifteen steps and twenty different ingredients. That simple peasant food is beautiful and, more often than not, as good as the complicated stuff, if not better.
One day last summer, Isabelle of Crumb, reminded me of this stew made with smokey Portuguese sausage, and the previously mentioned peas and eggs. Just seeing it made the taste memory smack me in face and I remembered how much I loved it. For some reason I didn’t make it at the time though. Probably because summer in Portugal is quite different than summer in Canada (as in ridiculous heat different). I wanted the taste, but not the warmth, so I forgot about it until it was colder.
And winter has been colder, much colder. So has this spring, but it won’t last long I don’t think and I’m reminded again that this comfort food needs to make another appearance in my kitchen this season and hopefully yours too.
- ½ chouriço sausage (100g approx), sliced
- ½ linguica sausage (100g approx, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup (240ml) red wine
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 3 cups (550g) frozen peas (fresh is better, but don't use canned)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 eggs (one per person)
- Cilantro (optional)
- First place the olive oil into a pan over medium heat. Add in onion, garlic and sausages. Cook until the sausage is brown and crispy around the edges. Add in the wine and cook a couple more minutes, scraping the browned bits off the bottom with a spatula or spoon.
- Toss in the tomatoes, paprika and stir in peas. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Crack each egg and pour directly into the stew one at a time, careful not to break the yolks. Cover and allow to cook about 8 or 9 more minutes for a hard yolk. 7 minutes is good for a runny yolk and 10 is good for a hard yolk. Season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle with cilantro and serve warm with crusty bread to sop up all the saucy goodness.
Rochelle is an Americana cooking, eating, photographing and writing in Portugal. She has a love for real food and learning to make it from scratch. As a new expat, she is slowly learning to speak the language and will soon be able to order more than just a café and pastel de nata from the local pastelaria.