Travel Guide to Portugal

A Portuguese Twist on Thanksgiving Leftovers

By Sonia Nolasco

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Portugal’s ultimate leftovers food has to be “Açorda” (pronounced ah-soar-duh). Growing up, if my mother had leftover “bacalhau, ” the next day, there was “Acorda de Bacalhau.” If she had leftover shrimp, then it was “Açorda de Camarao.” If she had too much stale bread lying around, then it was plain old bread “Açorda.” What is Açorda? Think bread pudding, but savory not sweet, with a porridge-like consistency. It was originally a rural, peasant dish; the most famous comes from the southern region of Portugal, the Alentejo. The traditional “Açorda Alentejana” isn’t as thick as the one my mother makes. The Alentejo version has a great deal more broth and is traditionally finished with poached eggs and lots of fresh cilantro. It’s delicious! However, the thicker style is what I grew up on—a recipe that’s common and reinterpreted throughout Portugal.

Since Thanksgiving is the ultimate leftovers holiday in the U.S., I thought: why not share my “Thanskgiving Açorda.” My recipe is inspired by açorda in general, but doesn’t adhere entirely to either of the versions mentioned here. You can also alter the ingredients to suit whatever leftovers you do have on hand, but I would bet most people have plenty of turkey, stale bread, herbs and more left over to use for this recipe. It’s also a great opportunity to finish up some of those bottles of wine or beer from the night before. A chance to create a Thanksgiving brunch, if you will, paired with some of those lighter reds generally favored on Thanksgiving, the rich whites and full roses. Another good pairing would be a beer (I favor the bitter-ish type) or hard cider.

Try the Turkey Açorda at home, or if you’d rather come to Portugal to savor traditional açorda in person, please contact us! There’s nothing better than snuggling up to a Portuguese grandmother to learn the tricks firsthand!

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Sonia Andresson-Nolasco

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Since 2005, Catavino has been exploring the Iberian Peninsula looking for the very best food and wine experiences.

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