Essential Portuguese Pantry Items

Around this time last year my Family and I moved into a new house about an hour west of Newark, New Jersey.  For most of my life I lived within a reasonable distance to the Portuguese enclave of Newark, New Jersey.  Newark’s “Ironbound” area is home to many Luso-Americans and has a plethora of Portuguese stores and several big supermarkets.  If a Portuguese person landed in Newark, New Jersey they would have no problem settling in as they would be able to buy ingredients and other groceries that would exactly match what they would get back home.  So, I had no problem sourcing quality meats, fish and produce required to cook Portuguese food.   Where we currently live there are no Portuguese stores or markets and while commute isn’t impossible to traverse it does pose a challenge if I suddenly run short of a pantry item.  It isn’t convenient to just hop in the car and make a two (2) hour round trip just to procure some massa de pimentão for my oxtail stew for instance.  So, what I do is stock up on Portuguese pantry items when I visit my mother in Newark.  That recently got me thinking about what pantry items are essential for a Portuguese kitchen.  I developed a list and keep it posted on my kitchen bulletin board, so I can track what amounts I have and know exactly when to add it to my Portuguese shopping list.  The list below isn’t exhaustive, and you may very well have other items you prefer but I wanted to share it with you anyway in case you live far from a Portuguese market and want to stock your pantry.  This doesn’t include things you can get at any supermarket like bay leaves, red pepper flakes, onion, garlic etc.  The list is in no particular order.

Nelson’s Essential Portuguese Pantry Items

Chouriço (Portuguese Sausage)

Massa de pimentão (Sweet Pepper Paste)

Portuguese Olive Oil

Toucinho (Portuguese Smoked Slab Bacon)

Portuguese Sea Salt

Portuguese Wine

Portuguese Olives

Branca de Neve Farninha (Self-rising flour with a consistency and flavor that is essential for certain Portuguese desserts)

Marmalada (Portuguese Marmalade)

Presunto (Portuguese Style prosciutto)

Bacalhau (Salted Codfish)

Tremoços (Portuguese Lupini Beans)

Castelões Cheese

Piri Piri (Portuguese Hot Sauce)

Pimenta Moeda (Azorean Style Crushed Hot Pepper)