In the small fishing and farming town of Murtosa, nestled in the Beira Litoral region of Portugal, lived one of the greatest cooks I ever met. She never worked in a restaurant but was employed by one of the wealthier merchant families of the town as a servant, cleaner and cook. She was Angelina Da Silva my great aunt or “tia” Angelina, sister to my maternal grandmother. Tia Angelina, who never had formal training, made many dishes all with the caliber of the great kitchens of Portugal but one that stood out for me and my family was her stewed rooster or “galo guizado”. This dish would be cooked for us many times during our vacations in Murtosa and it was made from home raised rooster which took the flavor level up to stratospheric levels. The dish employs the classic and often mentioned style of cooking that is unique to the culinary style of Portugal “the refogado” which adds all the ingredients cold in the pot at the same time. This style of cooking creates a rich sauce and infuses whatever meat you are using with a plethora of flavor. The use of rooster is essential to this dish but many do not like it and those that do have to go to a chicken market to buy it. So if rooster is something you do not want to cook with or simply cannot obtain in your part of the world you can substitute fowl or chicken. If using fowl or chicken you must alter the cooking time as it does not need as nearly as much time as a rooster to cook. Roosters are generally mature resulting in a tough meat that needs longer cooking times to tenderize. Another essential thing is that whatever poultry you use try and get it from a farm or an establishment that sells live chickens which they kill and prepare for you. These “chicken markets” can always be found in Latin communities….they essentially let you pick the bird and then proceed to slaughter it. They de-feather and will even cut it up for stew or leave it whole for roasting. Tia Angelina passed away in 2012 at the age of 93 and is dearly missed by her surviving relatives. This recipe will hopefully live on in our family and yours for generations to come.
- 1 large onion (or 2 medium onions) chopped
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 14.5 ounce can chopped diced tomatoes
- 2 cups tomato pulp (Compal Brand is preferred and can be found at Portuguese grocers Pomi brand can be substituted. If you can’t find any of these use canned tomato sauce)
- 1 Chicken Cube
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- Salt and Pepper to your taste
- 1 cup white wine
- Bay Leaf
- Salt and Pepper (to your taste)
- 1 cup of white
- ½ cup parsley chopped
- 1 Rooster (or fowl or chicken) cut up for stewing
- Place ingredients in this order in a heavy duty pot: onion, garlic, diced tomato, tomato pulp, chicken cube, paprika, salt, pepper wine, bay leaf, parsley and finally the rooster. Cover and leave it on medium heat for about 20 minutes checking every so often and stirring to incorporate the poultry into the sauce. After about 20 minutes check to see if the sauce formed envelopes the poultry. If does not add a little water or white wine to ensure that the liquid engulfs the poultry completely. Cover and reduce the heat to low and let cook for at least 1.5 to 2 hours. If using fowl or chicken reduce cooking time to 45 minutes to 1 hour. Regardless of what poultry you use check it (by probing it with a fork) periodically as each bird is different. You want it tender but not so tender that it disintegrates. Serve over white rice.