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How to Make Portuguese Linguiça at Home

LinguiçaWords involving “cured and smoked” in regards to meat in Portugal often leads to thoughts of links of spicy chouriço or subtly sweet legs of presunto hanging in a dark smoke house. Some of the other sausages come to mind such as alheira. The one that has found its way across the globe, from Hawaii to Brazil, and has been integrated into so many cuisines is the robust yet mild linguiça.

Linguiça (pronounced “Lin-gwees-sa”) is said to have derived its name from its unique shape, a long slender tongue (lingua in Portuguese), and not from any use of tongue in the sausage itself. This sausage is primarily prepared at home and rarely seen in restaurants, though it’s readily available in stores across the country and in many specialty stores in the US. If you like chouriço, but don’t want the extra spice it often brings then linguiça is a perfect alternative to use in Portuguese soups, arroz de pato (duck rice) or in pasta.

One dish where the use of linguiça is a requirement is the Francesinha (Frenchie in Portuguese), the famous Porto sandwich that has origins in the French croque-monsieur. It’s thought that this luscious sandwich originated in the 1960’s in Porto when Daniel da Silva returned to Portugal from France with the notion of adapting the croque-monsieur for the Portuguese palate. This resulted in a sandwich layered with cheese, ham, steak, and linguiça and smothered in a tangy, sweet sauce, essentially making it the ultimate sanduíche portuguêsa and the perfect medium to try some delicious homemade linguiça!

Home-made Linguiça

Makes about 5 pounds (2.25kg)

Cut the pork butt into cubes. Do not trim and remove fat. You will want the fat included in the sausage.

With a meat grinder or a food processor, grind the meat into a coarse consistency. If you don’t have either machine, you can request the butcher to do it for you.

Place ground pork into a large bowl and add in the garlic, salt, coriander, cinnamon, allspice and black pepper. Mix everything together using your hands. Add in the vinegar and water and mix again until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for about 48 hours to allow the flavors to blend.

If a sausage stuffer is available, use it to fill sausage casings (about 20) or you can use your hands to form patties or links.

Feel free to smoke these if you have a smoker, but it’s not necessary. Most of the linguica I’ve had was cooked with something or grilled either outside on a churrasco or in an assador de chouriço using aguardente to set it a flame. These also can be frozen for later use.

Francesinha

Makes 1 sandwich

Sauce

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).

In a small bowl, dissolve the corn starch in 2 tablespoons of the milk. Stir to make certain there are no lumps. Set aside

In a sauce pan melt the butter on medium low heat. Add in the tomato paste and stir well. Pour in the rest of the milk, beer, Port, and add in the bay leaf and beef stock cube.  Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Turn off the heat and discard the bay leaf. Stir the corn starch and milk mixture again and add it to the sauce, stirring well. Set aside.

Assemble the sandwich by placing a slice of cheese and one slice of bread on top of it on an oven safe dish. Lay another slice of cheese on the bread and then layer a slice of ham, four pieces of linguiça, steak, the last four pieces of linguiça and top it with the other slice of ham and a slice of cheese. Lay the other slice of bread on top and top with cheese. Secure the sandwich with toothpicks if you like.

Pour the sauce on top of the sandwich and place the dish into the preheated oven and allow the cheese to melt, about 5-10 minutes.

Remove the Francesinha from the oven and remove the tooth picks before serving.

 Rochelle Ramos

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