Galho Esufado A Moda da Tia Angelina (Tia Angelina’s Rooster Stew)

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.

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