Alentejo’s gastronomy is easily one of Portugal’s most flavourful, which in its own right is a country well known for its typical dishes, ranging from fish to meat to seafood. There are inumerous dishes that make for Alentejo’s cuisine, and even more stories to go with them.
Typical Alentejo cuisine, so it’s told, comes from many shortages that existed in the region. A single sardine could be divided by two or three people, which made cooks make the most of the available resources and resort to creative cooking. Some account for a different history, though, claiming that Alentejo’s gastronomy comes almost entirely from eighteenth century’s arabic cuisine, noting that Ensopado de Borrego (lamb stew) derives from a dish named Tarîd or that Migas (bread pudding) come from Harisa. No one knows for sure. All we know is that it’s tasty.
Alentejo’s cuisine’s ingredients
A lot of Alentejo’s dishes have pork, lamb and bread at their base, for these are very regional ingredients. There is, however, a very special detail that makes us love this dishes: the seasonings. And the plantations that we go through in our Alentejo tours are fundamental for their growth. Coriander, peppermint, pennyroyal, oregano, olive oil, garlic and onions are some of the most common, but there are more, and you can only truly discover them by tasting.
Something that also stands out in the region’s food is that many of its typical dishes are soups – being heavily seasoned as they are, they’re often served as main courses.
Some of the most well known dishes are:
Açorda à Alentejana (Alentejo-style bread pudding);
Ensopado de Borrego (Lamb stew);
Sopa de Cação (Dogfish soup);
Sopa de Beldroegas (Purslane soup);
Sopa de Tomate (Tomato soup);
Sopa de Toucinho (Bacon soup);
Cozido à Portuguesa à Moda do Alentejo (Alentejo-style Portuguese stew);
Cozido de Grão (Chickpea stew);
While you’re at it, why not discover what makes the Alentejo’s wines so special?