Sopa da Galinha (Canja) Re-posted especially for Lucy who has a thing for soup.

Have you ever said, “It’s easy as pie.”? If you’ve ever made a pie from scratch, you know it isn’t as easy as it sounds. The Portuguese saying is, “É canja!” It’s as easy as making chicken soup. I think making chicken soup is  than making a pie from scratch (let alone one made from flour, shortening, and all the rest). It does, however, take time to do it right. This is not a microwave recipe. But it is good. Additionally, a popular proverb states: “Cautela e caldos de galinha nunca fizeram mal a ninguem.” (“Caution and chicken broth never did anyone harm.”) This is a basic recipe. Most cooks have their own signature touches they put in their Canja.

Ingredients:
1 large stewing hen (You can make chicken soup with a fryer, but it does not come close to the rich flavor of a stewing hen.)

2 quarts of water
1/2 cup of rice
Salt and pepper to taste
My special touches: Italian parsley, garlic to your taste, one whole onion stuck with four or five cloves, a whole turnip or yellow turnip (also goes by rutabaga or swede) (not sliced or diced), a handful of fresh herbs tied in a bunch and dropped into the broth.

Wash the hen in cold running water. Remove the eggs (found inside the hen), liver, gizzard, feet and heart, and reserve them on the side. Put the hen in a large pot, and add the chicken’s feet, the water and salt or other seasoning you may like. Bring it to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the chicken is tender. This may take several hours. Skim off any foam that forms.

When the broth has reduced to   1/2 quarts, put the gizzard, liver, feet and heart into the broth. After 10 minutes, slowly add the rice. Cover the pot, and let it simmer for approximately 20 minutes, then add the chicken’s eggs and cook ten more minutes.

Take out the gizzard, heart, feet and liver. Put the feet to the side, and mince the rest with a knife. Put some in each soup plate along with some of the hen’s egg(s)  and some minced parsley before you add the broth and rice. Serve with fresh bread.

The Portuguese often use a soup as the first course of a meal, so there is no need to have the meat in your soup, though if you want it for a main dish, you may certainly add more meat. Or, you can use it to make something else.

For many of the older Portuguese women that I knew in Portugal, having a chicken was a rare Sunday treat under Salazar’s rule. That being the case, one would wish to make it stretch as far as possible. I never actually ate any chicken feet, but I was given to understand that it was an honor to be offered one of the feet.

Do you have a special recipe for chicken soup? Is this recipe easy?

Canja de Galinha

Silent inspiration

Susan P:

Portugal has many kinds of bread and sweets, but this is one I have never eaten. Love the story that came with the food.

Originally posted on Salt of Portugal:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Carmelite nuns lived most of their days in silence and solitude. The local peasants offered them agricultural products, including numerous eggs. The nuns used the egg whites to starch their clothes and the egg yolks to make desserts.

One day, the nuns received a bag of the finest, whitest wheat flour they had ever seen. They decided to try to make something special with this gift. The flour was combined with water to create a “virgin dough” that was left to rest. The nuns then stretched the dough and let it rest again. To get the most out of the rare flour, they repeated this stretching-resting cycle until the dough was so thin they could read the bible through it.

The dough was cut into rectangles and used to wrap a delicate mixture of egg yolks and sugar. The nuns used a feather to spread some melted butter over the dough and baked the…

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A treasure hunt in Lisbon

Susan P:

Portugal has many treasures that you might like to see. This post from Salt of Portugal features some of the things and where to look for them.

Originally posted on Salt of Portugal:

Cpmposot Embaixada“Where did you get that?” people used to ask when they saw someone wearing an interesting piece of clothing or jewelry. This question is now rarely asked. Shopping centers all over the world carry the same goods made by the same brands. In a world of abundance, the thrill of the new has become hard to find.

But you can find it at Embaixada, a new shopping center in Lisbon’s Príncipe Real neighborhood.  Housed in a sumptuous palace built in 1857, it features a collection of unique stores that sell original clothing and decorative pieces. Visiting Embaixada is like going on a treasure hunt. Take home a few prized possessions and people will ask: “where did you get that?”

Embaixada is located on Praça do Príncipe Real, n. 26. Click here for their website.

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The Marquês de Pombal

 Marquês de Pombal

Marquês de Pombal

“The Marquês de Pombal was born in 1699.The Portuguese statesman Sebastião Joséde Carvalho e Mello, Marquês de Pombal (1699-1782), one of the most important men in the history of Portugal, became virtual dictator of his country during the reign of King Joseph I. He used his powers to introduce much-needed reforms.” (http://biography.yourdictionary.com/marques-de-pombal)

Pombal became a consummate statesman and had his fingers in every pie he could reach. He is most appreciated and best known for his work after the The Great Lisbon Earthquake. He was a far thinking man and  way ahead of his time which was clearly seen the process of rebuilding Lisbon. During that time, he became virtual dictator. Though  He tried to curb the British from having so much to say in Portuguese economics. In that effort, he was largely unsuccessful.

Eventually, he was put out of office and banished to the town of Pombal. Eventually he received pardon. He died May 8, 1782 at 82 years old.

If you would like to read a little more about this interesting man, follow the link.

What do you think? Was he a patriot or a glory grubber?

The Praça de Pombal

The Praça de Pombal in downtown Lisbon 

Perfection in Matosinhos

Susan P:

Grilled fish better than any other I have eaten! I grew up eating “fish sticks” which are neither fish nor sticks. I learned to cook basic fish recipes and I’ve become very fussy about fish.

Originally posted on Salt of Portugal:

DCIM103GOPROWhen Oporto residents want to eat fresh fish, they drive to the nearby Matosinhos beach. The town’s main street (Rua Herois de França) and its side alleys are lined up with restaurants.

We usually go to S. Valentim and order rodovalho (turbot). We avoid appetizers so that, when the perfectly-grilled fish arrives at the table, we can give it our undivided apetite.

Each restaurant has a large charcoal grill outside maned by a master griller. This is a person with unbreakable concentration who doesn’t take the eyes off the grill until the fish is perfectly cooked.

Grilling fish is easy, unless you want to do it perfectly, in which case it takes years of experience. It is this perfection that keeps fish lovers coming back to Matosinhos.

S. Valentim is located on Rua Herois de França, 335, Matosinhos, tel. 229379204.

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Sopa á Portuguesa – Portuguese Soup

Soup is a comfort food, and the Portuguese have many ways to make us comfortable. We raised our children on the Portuguese soup recipe I am going to share with you. It’s versatile; you add or subtract items as the seasons come and go. Since the soup base needs to be pureed, you will need a food mill, or an immersion blender. The Portuguese were way ahead of us with the immersion blender, and it works like a charm, but the food mill works just as well: you just have to work harder.

Sopa à Portuguesa
Soup base: how much you use of each ingredient depends on how much soup you want to make. It’s good left over, so if you find you like it, make a big batch.
Chicken broth is a good way to start. Then add:
2 -3 potatoes
3 – 4 carrots
1 large onion
garlic to taste
1 turnip or more (I prefer rutabagas)
any other root vegetables you may like
1 cup or more of pureed pumpkin (can used canned)
olive oil
***********************
Choose one: turnip greens, spinach, cabbage (or some other kind of green leafy vegetable) or Italian-style green beans
rice (if you like it)
Parsley and cilantro, minced
Peel the potatoes, turnips, onions, garlic and carrots.Cut them into small cubes. Chop the onion, and mash the garlic. Put them all into a large pot, and add the pumpkin. Barely cover with water. Add a spoonful of olive oil. (I usually drop a few chicken cubes in, or use broth.) Bring to a boil, and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Puree the vegetables with an immersion blender. (Or use a food mill, and put the puree back into the broth in the pot.)
Rinse the other vegetables. Leafy vegetables should be shredded or torn into small pieces. If you have green beans, they should be kitchen sliced into pieces about 1/8 of an inch long.  Add them to the puree along with a half cup or so of rice and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, and the rice is cooked.
Stir in some minced Italian parsley, and cilantro to taste. Add salt and pepper if you like.
Sopa à Portuguesa
 Do you have any favorite soup recipe?

The Óbidos Pousada

Susan P:

Óbidos is a beautiful walled city that takes you back a number of century. We visited when we lived there and loved it. Sure would like to see it again now that I know this story.

Originally posted on Salt of Portugal:

Obidos Composit The first king of Portugal, Dom Afonso Henriques, laid siege to the Óbidos castle for two months, but the moorish population resisted his attack. One moonless night, a beautiful lady came down from the castle to speak to the king. She told him that, although she lived in the castle, she was not moorish. And that she had a recurrent dream she had to fulfill. The king was to attack the castle’s main door. At the same time, he would send a small group of soldiers to the back. There, the lady would leave an open door to let them in. Their surprise attach would secure the victory of the Portuguese troops.

The king of Portugal feared falling into a trap. But something about the lady’s demeanor convinced him to adopt her plan. The next day, the castle back door was indeed open and the Portuguese conquered Óbidos. The king looked everywhere for the beautiful lady, but…

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The Portuguese Years: Year Six – Visiting the Grandparents (1985)

The girls were growing up so quickly. Their grandparents had never even seen Susie in person. And I don’t know any grandparents who would find photos of their grandchildren an adequate substitute. Not even close. There may or may not

Harry and I pow-wowed about ways and means, and laid plans. Harry would not be able to go because he could not be spared for two months during camp season. He would miss us less while we were gone. Or so we believed.

And so one sunny June day Harry took us to the airport and helped with luggage. We kissed him good-by at the gate, and the girls and I boarded a jet plane bound for New York City.

Looking back, I think I had temporarily lost my good sense taking two such young children on my own. But it seemed like a good idea at the time. Susie had to sit on my lap the whole trip, and Susie was still nursing,  Bethy had a seat of her own was a great help keeping her sister entertained. Both girls were reasonably well-behaved (as opposed to the infant behind us who cried. A lot.)

We arrived in New York about seven hours after we left but having gained some time as we flew. Two sleepy small girls and I were overcome by the size of the airport. Family members were there to pick us up and take us to Pennsylvania. Our summer adventure had begun.

Jet plane