Portuguese gastronomy is diverse and tasty. For the coming 2018 Christmas festivities we suggest the readers to try two recipes from the central hinterland region of Beira, where animal husbandry, especially for cheese production, and the associate flock herding are important economic activities. «Queijo da Serra» may be the most renowned, but the cheeses produced by cooperatives and individuals from the whole area from Idanha to Castelo Branco deserve a trial indeed.


Roasted Lamb (or Kid) – Borrego (ou Cabrito) Assado


Ingredients (for 6-8 people)

2 Kg of lamb (or kid) meat

1 Kg of potatoes

Green vegetables at will

½ l of white wine

1 lemon

12 cloves of garlic

2 big onions

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons of paprika

1 small bunch of rosemary

1 small bunch of parsley

Salt and olive oil at taste

Pepper and chili peppers at taste


In the eve of your special Portuguese Christmas lunch, wash and clean the meat with lemon. You may chop it in large bits, or cook it whole. Crush the salt, the garlic cloves and paprika together in a mortar with a pestle. Dress the meat with the mixture and put it in a large bowl. Add the white wine and cover the bowl with a piece of cloth. Let it season (marinate) all night long until next day. Peel the onions and the potatoes that should be small sized, and wash. If you have only large potatoes, cut them in quarters. Slice the onions. Put the seasoned meat and wine in a clay large pot dressed with sliced onions. Add the bay leaves, pepper and chili peppers. Dispose the potatoes around the meat, the parsley and the rosemary on top, add the olive oil over the all, and it is ready for roasting inside the oven. Be attentive, adding some water, and to sprinkle the meat and the potatoes with the sauce to avoid drying or burning.  In the meantime, prepare the green vegetables at your taste. Boiled broccoli and slightly stewed carrots match perfectly. A Portuguese Christmas table usually offers a large variety of desserts: «filhoses», «sonhos de abóbora», «queijinhos do céu», «fatias douradas», «bolo-rei», you name it!


Pumpkin Dreams – Sonhos de Abóbora



1 Kg of peeled pumpkin

350 g of wheat flour

50g of butter

9 eggs

4 dl of water

Grated peel (zest) of 1 orange

1 pinch of salt

Sugar for dressing after frying

Oil for frying


Cut the pumpkin into small pieces and boil it adding a pinch of salt to wake the flavours. Take the boiled pieces out from the pan with a skimmer. Sprinkle the flour over the boiling water while stirring until obtaining a homogenous dough. Remove it from the pan, let it cool down, knead it a little and put it inside a bowl. Add the eggs one by one and the butter kneading the dough with your hand. Then, add the squash after squeezing it very well and the orange zest, and knead again.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add spoonfuls of dough and fry them well until getting golden sonhos (dreams). Drain the extra oil on absorbent paper, and dress them with sugar. Serve and enjoy your dreams!


Recipes adapted from www.teleculinaria.pt by Isabel Boavida, and translated by the 3rd year students of Portuguese (MEL BA degree at AAU): Abenezer Matias, Asfaw Agumas, Ayantu Mhammed, Bereket Urgesa, Haimanot Eshetu and Rediet Admasu with their teacher Isabel Boavida.