Are you looking for special recipes for Christmas at the last minute? Then give a Southern European touch to the Christmas menu with these Portuguese dishes.

In Portugal, Christmas is celebrated exuberantly. For weeks in advance, the streets are beautifully decorated, there is an illuminated Christmas tree in almost every municipality and a colourful Christmas cot is a regular sight. Furthermore, all kinds of gifts are bought and a lot of food is stocked. Traditionally, the shops are filled with Bolo Rei, a special Portuguese cake with dried fruit and nuts. But also ‘bacalhau’ is in stock. This salted and dried cod appears on the table of most Portuguese families on Christmas Eve. Depending on the region, Portuguese people also like to eat suckling pig or turkey. If you want a Portuguese atmosphere at the Christmas table, you can of course choose a traditional Portuguese Christmas dish. But the kitchen of Portugal offers many more beautiful dishes that give a surprising effect to the Dutch Christmas table. Here are a few:

Cataplana: the eye-catcher on the table

Served in a special copper pan, this dish is sure to impress your guests. You can vary endlessly with the ingredients. Shellfish, fish, chicken or meat? With the right spices, it all tastes great with the help of this pan. Try, for example, this variant with chorizo, fish, shrimps and vegetables. Or make this cataplana dish with meat.

Chicken piri-piri: for a spicy touch

Chicken piri-piri is probably the dish that goes against the traditional Dutch Christmas dinner the most, but it is still finger-licking delicious. Before going under the grill or in the grill pan, the chicken is marinated in a spicy marinade. Moreover, this dish is easily digestible. Your guests will appreciate this during the nutritious Christmas days.

Say it with clams

With Portuguese cuisine, you can make the most surprising combinations. Take ‘Carne de Porco à Alentejana’, for example. This is a pork and shellfish stew. Served in an authentic Portuguese pottery dish, it also looks very nice.

An adventurous dish with octopus

Polvo à Lagareiro is probably something your guests have never eaten before. It consists of octopus legs, potatoes in the skin and lots of olive oil with garlic. Be aware, though, that the suction cups on the legs might scare off your dinner companions. Are your guests adventurous? If so, this unusual casserole is sure to turn heads.

Apart from a Christmas dinner, you can also use these dishes for a Portuguese buffet on New Year’s Eve!

(Foto (c) Can Stock Photo / DeReGe)

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