Cozido à portuguesa (meat and vegetable stew)

Name: Elizabeth Taeed
Class Year: 2009
Country of Residence: Portugal

Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory? 

My husband and I had lived in Madrid for two years, and during that time ate a lot of Cocido madrileño, a traditional stew made with vegetables, chickpeas, and about a thousand types of meat. When we moved to Portugal, we were delighted to discover Cozido à portuguesa, a distinctly Portuguese take on our beloved cocido. There are also regional variations, so the recipe below is typical of the Alentejo region, where we live.

The joy of both types of Cozido is that you can have it as one course, or you can turn it into a few, with soup and fideo pasta. The Portuguese cozido uses rice and red beans, versus Spain’s emphasis on just chickpeas, and also adds in turnips or pears, bread sausage and pig ears. It also has a much shorter cooking time than Spanish cocido, but we’ve found that the longer you cook it, the better it is. So while a typical Portuguese cozido may only technically require an hour and a half, we’ve found that stewing it for 4-5 makes for a much tastier, tender-er dish! Whatever method and ingredients you use, there is one guarantee: you won’t be going home hungry, and your belt will definitely need loosening. Enjoy my slightly Spanish take on Cozido à portuguesa!

Cozido à portuguesa (meat and vegetable stew)

Serves 8. Takes approx. 1.5 hours if you’re in a hurry, but best if you give it 5 hours. Plus salting the meat the night before.


500-600g pork cheek (whole)
500-600g entrecote beef (in a few large chunks)
500-600g lamb (in a few large chunks)
500-600g cooking bacon or pork belly (in a few large chunks)
2 pig ears or 1 pig trotter (full discloser: I have always omitted these, and haven’t missed them)
1/2 a chicken, including drumsticks and the rest cut into large chunks on the bone
1 chouriço (the red one, seasoned with paprika)
1 blood chouriço
1 farinheira (bread sausage/ chouriço)
1 large can of red or white beans
400g white rice (can be any type, we use Carolina rice)
6 pears OR 4 turnips
6 small potatoes (i.e. 4 medium / 2 large)
3 carrots
1 medium Savoy cabbage or large bundle of broad beans
1 onion (quartered)
2-3 cloves of garlic (thickly sliced)
0.25 cup olive oil (or more or less to your taste)
2 bay leaves
Salt for marinade (around 0.5 – 1 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste (you are unlikely to need any salt though!)
Plenty of water
A few sprigs of mint (optional)


The night before, heavily salt the chicken, lamb and pork in the fridge. Don’t salt the beef, as that’s salty enough!

The next day, thoroughly wash the meat, removing all salt.

Arrange in a large stewpot in the following order: Beef, lamb, ears/trotter, chicken, bacon/stomach, then the three sausages and bay leaves. Then add the garlic, mint and onion, and cover with water so everything is submerged (around 4 litres). 

Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and let it cook for 1 to 3.5 hours. If you need to top up the water, do so. (Most traditional cozido recipes recommend removing the meats in the order they were added, but we’ve found that leaving them all to cook and get tender works beautifully with less effort. The cozido pictured cooked for 3.5 hours and was super tender and flavourful.)

Wash your rice, place it in a saucepan (or any pan suitable for cooking rice) and then ladle some of the cooking liquid onto it (using the normal ratio of 1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water). I personally like to soak the rice for half an hour before cooking, but if time is of the essence then you can start cooking it straightaway. Add a healthy glug of olive oil. Cover, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for ~10 minutes or until your rice is glossy and perfectly cooked.

Pour your beans into a stewpot and ladle over ~1 cup cooking liquid, plus another healthy glug of olive oil. About 15 minutes before serving, boil the beans until the cooking liquid is almost gone.

About 20-30 minutes before you are ready to eat, remove all the meats to a platter. Cover with foil and place in a warm over to keep hot.

Add all your chopped vegetables to the cooking liquid, and top up with water if necessary. Try a taste of the broth to get your tastebuds excited. Boil for until all vegetables are nice and tender. Remove from the broth.

Carve your meats, slicing up your sausages into big chunks, and begin plating up. First one of each meat, then a few of each vegetable, then the rice and the beans. Drizzle some broth over everything. 

Bonus Spanish cocido tip: Add some thin fideo pasta to your cozido broth and serve as a light noodle soup before tucking into the main feast. Or, if you can’t wait, serve the soup without pasta as a side dish like in Portugal.

Enjoy leftovers for the next week or so!

Source: Our local butcher + Mãe 5 Anilta’s helpful video to visualise each step:

Cozido Cozido with soup Serving Cozido

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