Alheiras, porkless sausage from Portugal


A pale smoked sausage from Trás-os-Montes, in Portugal, served with fried potatoes and a fried egg, have an interesting story. In the late fifteenth century King Manuel of Portugal ordered all resident Jews to convert to Christianity or leave the country. The King did not really want to expel the Jews, who constituted the economic and professional élite of the kingdom, but was forced to do so by outside pressures. So, when the deadline arrived, he announced that no ships were available for those who refused conversion — the vast majority — and had men, women and children dragged to churches for a forced mass baptism. Obviously, most Jews maintained their religion secretly, but tried to show an image of being good Christians. Since avoiding pork was a telltale practice in the eyes of the Inquisition, "conversos" devised a type of sausage that would give the appearance of being made with pork, but really only contained heavily spiced game and chicken. Nowadays, however, tradition has been broken, and pork has been added to the alheiras, this recipe however is closer to the original and contains no pork.

3 pounds lean beef
1 ½ pounds veal
½ pound chicken
½ pound turkey
½ pound rabbit
You may change the proportions of chicken/turkey/rabbit you can also substitute partridge, quail, duck, goose etc
1 ½ pounds day old wheat bread
4 cloves garlic
4 teaspoons olive oil
2 ounces suet
1 paprika to taste
1 salt to taste
1 black pepper to taste
sausage casing  32 mm
Boil the meats together long enough to make the bones separate from the meat by themselves. Reserve the resulting broth and set meats aside.
In a large bowl place the thinly sliced bread and add the reserved broth.
Cover with a towel and, as soon as the bread is soft enough, mash it with a wooden spoon. Add the mashed garlic and ground pepper, paprika and a little salt. Add the meats cut in very small pieces. Mix thoroughly.
When everything is completely mixed add the combined and heated olive oil and suet. Fill the casing using a suitable funnel.
Tie each alheira so that it’s about 8" long, with the filling concentrated in the middle section, leaving the ends almost empty.
Smoke for 2 or 3 hours a day, for a week. Tie both ends together before using.  The ‘alheira’ should be U shaped.
A typical way of serving alheiras is frying them in hot oil, and presenting them with fried eggs and potato chips. Some add broccoli as a side dish.

This entry was posted in Beef, Charcuterie, Chicken, Duck, Halal, Lamb, Sausage, Veal. Bookmark the permalink.

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