Since leaving Macau I find myself craving Portuguese food every once in a while. Other than stuffing the suitcase with chorizos and Iberico ham every time I get a chance to visit, there’s the signature bacalhau (salt cod) that I just cannot put behind. Once we found ourselves in this hole in the wall Portuguese restaurant in the back streets of old Taipa village, so cozy it could only hold 4 tables. The owner/chef started his recommendations with a starter of “bacalhau”, soup with “bacalhau”, main and sides with “bacalhau”. We listened to him and it turned out to be one of the best portuguese meals we ever had, which didn’t end until 7 hours later and countless ports, cigarettes and sign language shares with the owner.
A simple hearty bacalhau stew with tomatoes, potatoes, rice and optional veggies is the best solution for a lazy Sunday afternoon. I substituted whey for water this time because I had some at hand from making cottage cheese, and it gave the stew such sweetness and depth that I can’t imagine using just water ever again.
Bacalhau – soaked soft then cut into large cubes
Garlic, onion – diced
Tomatoes – diced
Paprika, bay leaf
Sautée garlic and onion in a generous amount of olive oil, add paprika and bay leaf, then tomatoes. Sautée until tomatoes partially melts, add white wine. Add potatoes, rice and cover with whey, simmer until cooked then add bacalhau and herbs and simmer until cooked. Other veggies can be added according to cooking time.
Served best with rustic bread on a homesick Sunday evening.