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Flavors of northern Portugal: 10 must-try recipes

Flavors of northern Portugal: 10 must-try recipes

Northern Portugal is celebrated for its rich culinary heritage, deeply intertwined with the region's historical and cultural fabric. The cuisine boasts a reputation for its genuine flavors and wide-ranging diversity.

A key distinguishing factor lies in the emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The region benefits from an abundance of top-quality agricultural produce and seafood, resulting in a cuisine that truly captures the essence of its surroundings.

Northern Portugal Gastronomy - Credit Municipio do Vieira do Minho


Traditional recipes are passed on through generations, ensuring their originality. These recipes are typically uncomplicated, accentuating the natural tastes of the ingredients and employing conventional cooking methods like wood-oven roasting and slow cooking.

Additionally, it would be remiss not to mention the internationally acclaimed wines crafted in the Douro region when discussing Northern Portuguese cuisine. Port wines, in particular, are renowned for their distinctive excellence and flavor, frequently accompanying the traditional dishes of the region.

Douro River - Credit Mundo Portugues


Whether your culinary preferences lean towards meat, fish, or wine, Northern Portugal has something to please your sweet cravings. And if you're eager to recreate some of the finest recipes in your own kitchen, here are ten delectable options to consider!
  1. Tripas à moda do Porto
  2. Francesinha
  3. Cozido à Portuguesa
  4. Feijoada à Transmontana
  5. Arroz de cabidela
  6. Rojões
  7. Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá
  8. Caldo Verde
  9. Arroz de Pato
  10. Papas de Sarrabulho

Tripas à moda do Porto

Tripas à moda do Porto is a traditional dish hailing from the vibrant city of Porto. This flavorful stew combines pork tripe, white beans, vegetables, and sausages. Believed to have originated in the 15th century, the dish emerged when the residents of Porto, reserving the meat for sailors embarking on sea voyages, ingeniously retained the tripe solely for their own consumption.

Tripas à moda do Porto - Credit RTP


Ingrédients (8 people)

  • 1.5 kg tripe
  • 250g sausage (preferably Portuguese Chouriço)
  • 200g smoked ham
  • 100g bacon
  • 500g dried white beans
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 200ml white wine
  • 100ml port wine
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Chopped parsley
  • Cloves
  • Salt and white pepper
  • White rice


  1. Soak the beans in water overnight. The next day, cook until tender but not overcooked. Drain and set aside.
  2. Scrape and clean the tripe well, rubbing it with coarse salt and lemon juice. Wash several times in cold water, then again in hot water.
  3. Place tripe in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and boil. Remove any scum that forms on the surface and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse again with cold water. Cover the pan with salted water, add 1 onion studded with cloves, 1 peeled carrot and a bunch of coriander. Cook until tender.
  4. Chop the bacon, remaining onion and garlic and sauté in olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the white wine and reduce the liquid by half. 
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, flour, tripe stock, chorizo, smoked ham and remaining sliced carrots. Boil for about 5 minutes.
  6. Then add the beans and tripe cut into pieces and cook for a further 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the port and stir. Remove the chorizo and ham, cut the former into slices and the latter into cubes. Return the mixture to the pan and stir.
  7. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with boiled white rice.

Which wine to serve with Port-style tripe?

    To complement the distinctive Moda do Porto Tripas, a red wine that is full-bodied, exhibits lively tannins, and boasts balanced acidity is recommended.

    One such wine that fits the bill is Kopke São Luiz, a red wine originating from the renowned Douro region. It showcases an intense red hue and delightful sweet flavors. This well-balanced wine features prominent tannins and a persistent, yet harmonious finish. It serves as an ideal accompaniment to Port-style tripe, enhancing the overall dining experience.


    Another culinary gem of Porto is the Francesinha, a tantalizing hot and spicy sandwich. This delectable creation consists of layers of sliced bread, ham, sausage, grilled meat, and melted cheese. The pièce de résistance is the generous drizzle of a tomato, beer, and chili-based sauce that crowns the sandwich, infusing it with irresistible flavors.

    Francesinha - Credit Ncultura Noticias


    Ingredients for the sauce

    • Light beer (about 1 liter)
    • Port wine (about 20 cl)
    • Tomato sauce or tomato pulp (approx. 50 g)
    • Piri-piri (to be found in the store section of the site)
    • Olive oil, 2 onions, 2 garlic cloves, bay leaf
    • Cornstarch to thicken sauce

    Ingrédients for the sandwich

    • 8 thick slices of sandwich bread
    • 4 thin veal, beef or pork steaks
    • 4 slices ham
    • 1 smoked sausage
    • 1 fresh sausage
    • Slices of cheese (to garnish and cover sandwiches)
    • 4 eggs


    1. Chop 2 onions and 2 cloves of garlic and place in a saucepan. Add the veal, beef or pork steaks. Add olive oil and bay leaves. Simmer until the meat is cooked. When the meat is cooked, remove it from the pan and save it for later.
    2. Add the port wine, beer and tomato sauce to the pan. Leave to reduce for an hour. Remove the bay leaves and blend in a blender. Add cornflour if necessary to thicken the sauce. Add the hot or mild Piri-piri to taste. Set the sauce aside.
    3. Prepare the sandwiches with the sandwich bread, steaks, slices of ham, sliced fresh and smoked sausage and a few slices of cheese. Cover each sandwich completely with the remaining cheese slices. Melt the cheese in the oven while you prepare 4 fried eggs.
    4. Remove the sandwiches from the oven, place them in soup plates, cover with the sauce and place a fried egg on each sandwich. 
    5. Serve with French fries (as is often the case in Porto) and a cold Portuguese beer.


    For an authentic dining experience, the Francesinha can be served at the table in a terracotta plate that has been skillfully utilized to bake it to perfection.

    This traditional terracotta gratin dish adds a touch of delight to every recipe, ensuring nothing sticks, while flawlessly preserving flavors. It guarantees uniform cooking results, whether utilizing gas, oven, or even embers, allowing for a truly pleasurable culinary adventure.

    Cozido à Portuguesa

    A hearty meat and vegetable stew, lovingly prepared in a clay pot, is a culinary delight. This dish typically features tender pieces of beef, pork, and chicken, complemented by savory sausages, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes. It is commonly served alongside rice and white beans, creating a harmonious and satisfying combination of flavors.

    Cozido à Portuguesa - Credit Ekonomista


    Ingrédients (8 people)

    • 600g beef shank
    • 600g ribs
    • 600g bacon
    • 2 pig's ears
    • 1/2 chicken
    • 1 sausage (Chouriço)
    • 1 Portuguese black sausage
    • 1 small Portuguese black sausage
    • 1 farinheira sausage
    • 1 large tin of kidney beans
    • 400g rice
    • 6 small potatoes
    • 3 carrots
    • 1 small white cabbage
    • 1 small green cabbage
    • 1 onion
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 0.5dl olive oil
    • 2 bay leaves
    • salt and pepper


    1. The day before, salt the pork and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, rinse with water and cook with the remaining meat, chicken pieces, chouriço, black pudding and farinheira sausage in water seasoned with salt, bay leaves and peppercorns. Remove and set aside as you cook.
    2. Clean and wash cabbage, peel and wash carrots and potatoes. Boil all these ingredients in the meat cooking water and remove. Then use 8 dl of the stock, adjust the seasoning, boil the blood sausage and remove. Add the kidney beans to the same stock, heat through and remove.
    3. Peel and chop the onion and garlic, place in a saucepan, add the olive oil, bring to the boil and sauté for a few moments. Add the rice, mix well, pour in the stock from the blood sausage, stir, cover and cook over a very low heat for 15 minutes.
    4. Serve the meat and chopped sausages with the vegetables, rice and beans.


    Having trouble finding the right clay pot to cook a Cozido? Red clay, known as "Olaria de barro vermelho", can be used to prepare spectacular stews: "In an earthenware pot, the meat becomes exceptionally tender".

    Feijoada à Transmontana

    Hailing from the Trás-os-Montes region in northeastern Portugal, Feijoada in Transmontana is a traditional dish that showcases the rich culinary heritage of the area. This flavorful stew revolves around white beans (feijão branco) and boasts a diverse assortment of meats, including pork, beef, chorizo, ham, and sometimes tripe.

    The meats are typically simmered with garlic, onions, tomatoes, paprika, and other aromatic spices. Feijoada in Transmontana is often accompanied by rice, cabbage, or potatoes, further enhancing its wholesome and comforting nature, making it particularly popular during the winter months.

    This hearty and nourishing dish holds a special place in celebratory gatherings like weddings and birthdays, often gracing the tables at major parties. It is also a beloved staple in the region's restaurants and guesthouses, where locals and visitors alike can relish its delicious flavors.

    Feijoada à Transmontana - Credit Teleculinaria


    Ingrédients (4 people)

    • 500g dried kidney beans
    • 350g ribs
    • 1 sausage
    • 100g bacon
    • 1 sausage
    • 1 chouriço
    • 2 onions
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 0.5 dl white wine
    • 1/2 can peeled tomatoes
    • 2 carrots
    • 1 Portuguese cabbage
    • salt and pepper


      1. Soak the beans in water overnight. On the day of the recipe, cook them in salted water. Separately, cook the pork chops, bacon and chourço in a saucepan with water and one of the peeled, chopped onions. Remove the meat as it cooks.
      2. Peel the other onion and garlic, chop, place in a saucepan, add the bay leaf and olive oil, heat and sauté until the onion is tender. Add the white wine, chopped tomato, peeled and sliced carrots, sliced chouriço and grated cabbage. Cook for 5 minutes.
      3. Then add the beans with a little cooking stock and all the chopped meat, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook until everything is cooked.
      4. Serve immediately.

      Arroz de cabidela

      Another iconic recipe originating from Northern Portugal is chicken rice cooked in a distinctive broth infused with chicken blood, vinegar, and onions. This dish, characterized by its dark color and unique flavor, captivates the senses. It is commonly accompanied by a side of crispy French fries, adding a delightful texture contrast to the meal.

      Arroz de Cabidela - Credit SAPO


      Ingrédients (4 people)

      • 1 chicken
      • 500g rice
      • 1 large onion
      • 3 garlic cloves
      • 3dl white wine
      • 4 tablespoons olive oil
      • 3 tablespoons vinegar
      • 1 teaspoon paprika
      • 1 bay leaf
      • Parsley
      • Salt and pepper


        1. Peel and wash the garlic cloves and chop finely. Clean chicken, cut into pieces and season with garlic cloves, paprika, white wine, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Mix well and marinate for 30 minutes.
        2. Peel, wash and finely chop the onion. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the drained chicken and sear on both sides until golden. Add the onion, mix well and fry until golden.
          Add the marinade to the pan and cook for around 40 minutes until the chicken starts to become tender, adding water if necessary.
        3. Make sure you have about 1 liter of stock and adjust the seasoning. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked. Stir well and remove from heat. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.


        Another beloved meat dish in Northern Portugal is the flavorful Rojões. This recipe features succulent pieces of pork marinated in white wine and then fried to perfection with a medley of garlic, onions, and fragrant bay leaves. Rojões are frequently accompanied by a side of rice and potatoes, completing the hearty and satisfying meal.

        Rojõe - Credit Ruralea


        Ingredients (4 people)

        • 700 g pork
        • 3 cloves garlic
        • 1.5dl white wine
        • 2 tablespoons olive oil
        • 2 tablespoons lard
        • 2 tablespoons paprika
        • 1 sprig parsley
        • 1 bay leaf
        • Gherkins
        • Olives
        • Salt and pepper


          1. Place the pork in a bowl and season with olive oil, white wine, paprika, bay leaf and minced garlic cloves. Mix well, cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
          2. Melt the lard in a frying pan, add the well-drained meat and cook over high heat for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the marinade, adjust the salt, season with a pinch of pepper, cover and cook for a further 35 minutes or until the sauce is very thick and the meat is tender. If necessary, add a little hot water halfway through, but make sure there's little sauce left at the end.
          3. Remove from the heat and serve garnished with gherkins and olives and diced French fries. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

          Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

          This renowned dish is another culinary gem representing the city of Porto. It is a flavorful codfish stew prepared with tender potatoes, onions, garlic, olives, and eggs, creating a harmonious blend of ingredients that tantalize the taste buds.

          Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá - Credit Cybercook


          Ingrédients (4 people)

          • 500g cod
          • 400g potatoes
          • 3 bay leaves
          • 150ml olive oil
          • 1 clove garlic
          • 3 cloves
          • 3 onions
          • 1 teaspoon
          • 4 hard-boiled eggs
          • Pitted black olives
          • Parsley
          • Salt and pepper


            • Cook the cod with skin and potatoes, already washed and diced, for about 15 minutes in a saucepan containing about 3 liters of water, with a bay leaf and white pepper.
            • Once the cod is cooked, remove the bones and skin, separate into thick crumbs and set aside.
            • Sauté the chopped garlic, onions cut into half-moons and remaining bay leaves in olive oil for 5 minutes.
            • Add the cod crumbs and potato cubes to the sauté and simmer, seasoning with salt and pepper.
            • Garnish with a chopped hard-boiled egg, olives, chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.


            Terracotta oven dishes excel in distributing heat evenly during the cooking process. With its exceptional properties, terracotta emerges as the ideal material for slow cooking and simmering recipes. It guarantees the attainment of a delectably tender and flavorsome texture, enhancing the overall culinary experience.

            Caldo Verde

            Caldo Verde, a traditional soup hailing from the northern region of Portugal, is a beloved culinary gem. This comforting dish is crafted with a simple yet delightful combination of ingredients, including potatoes, cabbage, and delectable slices of chorizo.

            To create this flavorsome soup, the potatoes are cooked to a velvety softness, lending a creamy texture to the broth. The cabbage adds a touch of vibrant green color and a subtle earthy flavor that beautifully complements the other elements. Finally, the slices of chorizo infuse the soup with a rich and smoky essence, elevating the taste profile to new heights.

            Caldo Verde is not only nourishing but also offers a wonderful balance of flavors and textures. It is often enjoyed as a wholesome and comforting meal on cold winter days, providing warmth and sustenance. Served alongside crusty bread, this traditional soup makes for a satisfying and complete dining experience, showcasing the culinary heritage of northern Portugal.

            Caldo Verde - Credit Maria Receita


            Ingrédients (4 people)

            • 500g potatoes
            • 200g kale, chopped for broth
            • 1/2 chouriço
            • 1 onion
            • 2 cloves garlic
            • 1dl olive oil
            • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
            • 2 liters of water
            • Corn bread


              1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan with the chopped onion and garlic, and the peeled and chopped potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally.
              2. Add the water, salt and chorizo and leave to cook.
              3. When the potatoes are cooked, remove the chouriço and mash well. Add the cabbage and bring to the boil.
              4. Serve the caldo-verde with the slices of chouriço, accompanied by slices of corn bread.


              Enhance the presentation and experience of your Caldo Verde by serving it in a traditional Portuguese terracotta bowl. Crafted from naturally insulating terracotta, this bowl is adept at retaining heat, ensuring that your Caldo Verde stays warm and inviting throughout your meal.

              The earthy charm of the terracotta vessel adds an authentic touch, further immersing you in the rich culinary traditions of Portugal.

              Arroz de Pato

              Arroz de Pato, a delightful Portuguese dish, showcases a harmonious blend of rice and succulent duck. This flavorful recipe incorporates white beans, onions, garlic, and a touch of red wine to elevate the taste profile.

              In this culinary masterpiece, the rice absorbs the rich flavors of the tender duck meat, creating a delightful combination of textures. The white beans add a creamy element, while the onions and garlic infuse the dish with aromatic undertones. The addition of red wine further enhances the overall depth and complexity of flavors, creating a truly satisfying meal.

              Arroz de Pato is a beloved specialty that exemplifies the culinary heritage of Portugal. Its hearty and comforting nature makes it an excellent choice for gatherings and special occasions.

              Arroz de Pato - Credit Teleculinaria


              Ingrédients (4 people)

              • 4 duck breasts
              • 1.5l water
              • 100 ml red wine
              • 150g sausage
              • 150g smoked bacon
              • 2 bay leaves
              • 1 onion
              • 3 garlic cloves
              • Tomato pulp
              • 400g white rice
              • paprika, salt, pepper


                1. Place the liter and a half of water, red wine, half the chorizo, smoked bacon, bay leaves, duck breasts and salt in a saucepan. Cook for 40 minutes. Strain and reserve the duck stock.
                2. In a frying pan, sauté the chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil. Sauté for 3 minutes, then add the tomato pulp. Simmer for 5 minutes.
                3. Allow the meat to cool, then shred the duck and dice the chorizo and smoked bacon. Add to the pan. Add a little stock and simmer for 3 minutes.
                4. Add the rice and mix well. Then add 400ml cooking stock, pepper and paprika. When it boils, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes.
                5. Place the rice on a baking tray. Slice the remaining chorizo and place on top of the rice.
                6. Bake at 170°C for 15 minutes, until the rice is golden brown.

                Papas de Sarrabulho

                Papas de Sarrabulho is a traditional Portuguese dish that showcases a flavorful meat and vegetable stew. This delectable recipe combines ingredients such as potatoes, carrots, onions, bacon, and sausages, resulting in a hearty and satisfying medley of flavors.

                The stew is carefully crafted, with the ingredients simmered together to create a rich and aromatic broth. The potatoes and vegetables add texture and depth, while the bacon and sausages infuse the dish with savory goodness. To complete the experience, Papas de Sarrabulho is often served alongside corn bread, which perfectly complements the robust flavors of the stew.

                This dish is a true testament to Portuguese culinary heritage and is frequently enjoyed during festive gatherings and special occasions. The combination of meats, vegetables, and corn bread creates a memorable dining experience that captures the essence of comfort food at its finest.

                Papas de Sarrabulho - Credit Visit Gondomar


                Ingredients (6 people)

                • 1kg pork offal (heart, liver, etc.)
                • 1 pork bone
                • 250g beef
                • 250g corn flour
                • 250g chicken
                • 250g boiled pork blood
                • Salt and cumin


                  1. Place a pan of water on the stove and, when it boils, add the meat, season with salt and cook until the chicken falls apart.
                  2. Once cooked, remove the meat and shred.
                  3. Pour the flour into the meat broth, along with the blood and a little hand-crushed cooked liver, the shredded meat and cumin to taste.
                  4. Mix all ingredients together and cook to a porridge that is not too thick.
                  5. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with cumin.


                  When delving into the culinary traditions of northern Portugal, it is impossible to overlook the renowned "enchidos." These dry sausages are crafted using a combination of pork and a medley of flavorful spices, including paprika, garlic, cloves, and salt.

                  Enchidos encompass a wide array of varieties, each possessing its own unique recipe and manufacturing process. Chouriço, linguiça, salpicão, and paio are among the most commonly enjoyed types. These savory delicacies are frequently served as aperitifs or starters, expertly sliced into thin strips. To enhance the experience, they are accompanied by delectable bread and cheese, resulting in a delightful combination of flavors and textures.

                  Enchidos hold a special place in the culinary landscape of northern Portugal, reflecting the region's rich heritage and expertise in preserving and transforming pork into delectable creations. Their inclusion in meals adds a touch of tradition and gastronomic pleasure to any dining experience.

                  Enchidos - Credit Veja Rio


                  They are also a key ingredient in many traditional Portuguese dishes, such as feijoada à la portugaise, a white bean and pork stew, or cozido à portuguesa, a vegetable and meat stew.

                  Terracotta crockery

                  The traditional culinary practices in northern Portugal embrace a variety of cooking methods, including low-temperature simmering, baking, and even grilling. An integral element of this cuisine is the use of terracotta dishes, pots, bowls, and plates.

                  Terracotta, with its exceptional qualities, elevates the cooking experience to new heights. When simmering recipes in terracotta, ingredients cook evenly, flavors are wonderfully preserved, and the cooking process remains uniform. Moreover, the beauty of terracotta lies in its versatility. The same dish used for cooking can be elegantly presented at the table, adding a touch of rustic charm to the dining experience.

                  By utilizing terracotta cookware, traditional recipes are enhanced, ensuring optimal cooking results and a delightful presentation. Its natural properties make it a cherished feature in the culinary traditions of northern Portugal, enhancing the pleasure of cooking and savoring authentic dishes.

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