Portuguese Style Corn Bread


Portuguese seafood, meat and soup dishes tastes so much better with a good piece of bread. My favourite one is Portuguese Style  corn bread, the perfect complement. Although this bread is made in various European households, I grew up with this bread in my household all the time, but it was made at home, not bought at the bakery. 

When I was a little girl of about 5 or 6, I remember watching my Dad in the kitchen,  rolling the dough into the size of a  cantaloupe. He would be so involved in the process, unaware of his surroundings as if he was pouring his soul into the bread. It is really remarkable to watch someone really enjoy making bread. He must have been thinking about his life back home in Portugal or  the  anticipation of eating his creation;  perhaps reminiscing about his mom making the same bread and watching in the same appreciation as I did. 

Nobody can make this simple, tasty bread better than my dad….until now. Time to hand over the tradition Pai,  (Dad in Portuguese), your daughter will carry it  to the next generation.   The only downfall is that this bread doesn’t keep long,  2 days max, and for a somewhat  frugal cook,   I’ve got to love it to go the extra mile and make it. Yet it is so  easy to make, for busy people it’s definitely a weekend baking treat.

It is a staple in my home now, even though my kids eat bits at a time. Given the right dish,  like shrimp in a wine sauce (one of my  future posts)  they would dip the plates clean.  

May you enjoy this favourite of mine. Cheers ! 

  • INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 cups corn flour + 1 tbsp. extra for dusting baking pan
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • 1  to 1 1/2 tablespoons of  sea  salt  or  (if you want to cut down of salt do 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2  cups boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup of white flour or hand full of white wheat flour
  • optional tiny bits of dried Rosemary herbs

 

The Method:

1) Pour 2 cups of corn flour,  pepper and salt, dash of garlic powder, sugar (and 1 tsp. of  dried Rosemary herb optional)  in large mixing bowl.  Add 1  1/2 cup  of hot boiling water and stir with wood spoon until thick and well mixed. Consistency should be thick with minimal lumps.   Let the dough cool about 20 minutes at room temperature; or outside with a towel covering it; or in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes.

2) In the mean time, prepare the baking surface with the extra flour dust on a rectangular or round baking pan. Preheat the oven to the highest heat, mine goes to about 550 degrees farenheit, and that’s where I set it.

3)  Now roll your sleeves on this part and of course clean hands.  Take bowl out of fridge and add the  1/2 cup of white bread flour into dough and blend with your hands. It will be sticky, but the goal is to   knead on a floured surface, and not make it sticky. Roll  into a nice ball like the shape of a cantaloupe. Then Flatten the dough to the shape of a medium oval pizza shape, with the thickness to be about an inch to inch and 1/2 .

4) If you have a large flat spatula,  carefully slide it under to scoop the rolled out dough on the flour dusted  baking pan and place it on the baking pan carefully.   

5) Bake until bread is deep golden  brown on top, usually about 1/2 hour to 40 min., but have the light open in the oven so you can spot check after 20 minutes to see how it’s doing. Once its a nice light golden brown, remove from oven. Wait about a minute or two and wrap with a clean tea towel so that it keeps it’s moisture and won’t go dry on you.

6) Serve it warm or at room temperature, it can be baked 1 day ahead, although I find it best the same day that you cook your main dish. (Keeps for about 1 or 2 days in a sealed bag)

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Portuguese Pizza (Manuela’s style)


Portuguese Pizza (Manuela's style)

Ok, have you heard of  Portuguese Pizza ? maybe you have, here’s my version (Manuela’s Style):

  • Ingredients:
  • Portuguese style chouriço
  • pizza dough (short cut tip – buy from the local bakery) costs me 2 bucks.
  •  mild red pimento paste 
  •  parsley  (chopped in small bits) or flakes (optional)
  • a hand full of some graded Portuguese semi-soft cheese such as from Pico or Sao Miguel, or if you prefer a stronger tingling on your tongue cheese,  St. Jorge cheese would be fine too, but it’s pricey.  You would mix it with about  3/4  cup of plain farmers white brick cheese.
  • Another ingredient I recently experimented with was  Portuguese style black olives, pitted. You can add a handfull of those as well.

 

The Method:

1) Add some olive oil about 1 tablespoon on your pizza baking pan and spread it with some paper  towel or cooking brush.
2) Spread your dough  out on a very clean  lightly floured  area, you can use a rolling pin, but I prefer to stretch it with my hands.
3) Cut your chouriço in thin sliced round shapes like pepperoni  or cubed.
4) On the pizza dough, spread a large spoon full  of the red pimento paste to create a thin layer of sauce.
5)Top with your favorite Portuguese semi-soft cheese, (about a hand full), then add 1/2 cup of the farmers white cheese.
6)Spread your chouriço pieces over the whole pizza.
7)Top with a handfull of the black Portuguese style olives and a few pinches of fresh parsley or parsley flakes. 

Bake in the oven at 360 degrees Farenheit in the bottom grill for 10 min. Then on the top grill for another 10- 12 minutes.

And take out of oven, let it stand  for about 3 or 5 minutes, enjoy it with some Portuguese white or red wine, and there you go.

My type of Portuguese Pizza !  (Great entertaining appetizer or meal).

Chow for now !!!

M. Dasilva
Creator of  The Portuguese Cook on Youtube