For me, one of the joys of travelling and living in different countries is the opportunity to try different food. I do, however, have limits; whilst a friend of mine was prepared to cook and eat goat udder in Vietnam, I usually steer well clear of brains, offal and other icky bits.
But what could I do when a very kind associate of Mike’s offered to make a local speciality dish for us? It would have been rude to refuse, but thankfully he was told to bring it home so we could try arroz de bucho (pig’s stomach stuffed with rice and meat) together, in private.
I was not looking forward to it, even less so when I opened the foil packaging to find this decidedly foreign object:
Luckily, the inside looks more appetising as it is stuffed with rice, meat and traces of vegetables.
I’m deeply grateful to the woman who went to the time, trouble and expense of cooking it for us and I have to admit that it was a lot tastier than I expected. I’ve had it several times now, even though I would never order a whole portion, and I’l go as far as to say that it’s actually quite nice.
Arroz de bucho, a dish that was traditionally made in most households during the annual pig-killing festival, is still considered to be a treat in central Portugal.
Nowadays, most people don’t keep and slaughter their own pigs but local restaurants in Vila Nova de Poiares make up for this by devoting a week to serving arroz de bucho at the beginning of November.
The ingredients for the Vila Nova de Poiares version of arroz de bucho are as follows if you’re tempted to have a go at making it yourself but there are many variations so feel free to experiment.
- 500g rice
- 500g pork loin
- a few slices of chorizo
- bunch of parsley
- bay leaf
- wild thyme
- olive oil
- glass of port wine
- pig stomach – well cleaned and washed!
Mix the ingredients, place them inside the stomach, sew it up with needle and thread then boil for an hour and a half.
Slice and serve with vegetables.
Can be eaten hot or cold.
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