Meat Stew with Beans and Spices - Porto Style. Photography by Mário Ambrózio and Rafael Rodrigues at Raw Studio

The stew that helped Portugal conquer the globe

When Portugal’s sailors took all the good beef, the cooks of Porto came up with this ingenious way to make less appetising cuts great

Leaf through Portugal The Cookbook and you’ll soon realise how the food of this questing, globally adventurous western European nation is closely interlinked with the discoveries of its seafaring people.

Consider the sweet dishes from Madeira, the warm Atlantic archipelago which remains one of Portugal’s autonomous regions. As the book’s author, chef Leandro Carreira, explains, these toothsome dishes, such as bolo de mel or honey cake, were first developed in the 15th century, when sugar plantations were established across the islands.

The stew that helped Portugal conquer the globe

Leandro Carreira

However, the discovery and settlement of Madeira also left its mark on Portuguese food in other ways. During the earlier part of the 15th century, the people from Porto gave up the best cuts from their cattle to the Armada of Prince Henry the Navigator, whose ships explored and claimed new lands, including Madeira.

Going without good beef back home pushed Portuguese cooks towards less appetising cuts, including tripe, which in turn led them to create the ultimately rich and nourishing dish, tripe stew with beans and spices Porto style, featured in this new book.

The stew that helped Portugal conquer the globe

Portugal the Cookbook

It isn’t an easy dish to make; Carreira warns that there are some long cooking times involved with this dish, “so I prefer to cook the meat the day before.”

To get the full recipe, which includes 1.2 kg/2 lb 11 oz of tripe, as well as pig’s feet, chorizo, lima beans, cumin and paprika (among other ingredients), as well as all the sweet Madeira recipes, and much more, order a copy of Portugal the Cookbook here.