Updated: May 18, 2021
Pronounced: veen-ya DOLL-you or just veen DOLL-you
The aroma that comes from cooking meat that was marinated in vinha d'alhos is one of those things that instantly transports me back my Mom’s kitchen. Until recently, I assumed she invented it, It turns out that its roots go back to the days of Prince Henry the Navigator in the 1400's. As it turns out, it is considered to be one of the most essential flavors of Portuguese influenced cooking throughout the world.
Looks Good, huh..?? (apologies to my vegan friends for the carnage)
That's Picanha a Vinha d'alho which is Sirloin Steak in this marinade.
You can make it, or tons of other delicious Portuguese meals with this recipe.
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A LITTLE HISTORY
In the 15th century, Portuguese sailors carried pork in barrels on their ships to feed them on their long journeys. To preserve the pork, it was pickled in garlic and wine that had turned vinegary over time because of the long travel time. Literally, vinha d'alhos means, “Wine with Garlic” but, as you will see, there are a few other things in there that combine to make it even more tasty than the stuff those sailors ate. I think the flavor is amazing.
The Portugues ships carried this meat marinade to all the "corners" of the earth.
In North America it is sometimes known as "pickled pork" or "garlic pork”.
It has made it to the Hawaiian islands as well, where they apparently. serve their "pickled pork" for breakfast with eggs and potatoes at pancake houses.
I was really surprised to read that the hot curry dish called vindaloo originated in the former Portuguese colony of Goa in India. The recipe evolved from the one brought to India by the sailors. In Goa itself where they still speak Portuguese, the dish is known as vindalho, which is closer to its original Portuguese pronunciation.
Closer to home, my maternal grandmother used this meat marinade for a number of dishes and apparently she taught it to my Mom.
I never paid attention to anything when I was a kid, so I never knew what was in it, but I could definitely smell some vinegar in there. The rest of the ingredients remained a mystery to me until recently when I started researching Portuguese cooking.
This rustic approach is more like what my grandmother would make. Chunks of pork with roasted onions and potatoes. I can almost taste it.
I'm so hungry right now from looking at that picture... Let's get started!
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
1 medium yellow onion, diced (chopped really small)
6 to 10 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup Dry White Wine
1 cup Red wine Vinegar
1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2-3 dried Bay leaves
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon All Spice
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
MEAT: Here you have some choices ...
Traditionally, vinha d'alhos is used to flavor cubed (2") Pork loin, but any cut of meat will do. The tougher the meat, the longer you should marinate it. My grandmother used it with beef, pork and chicken but there are lots of recipes out there for rabbit.
In any case, this recipe will make enough for about THREE pounds of meat.
Combine all the ingredients in a large coverable container or bowl with a tight lid.
Put the chunks of meat into the bowl, cover it and put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook…( At least a few hours... Overnight in the fridge is best, but one Madeira recipe I saw said "at least 3 days". This might be where the name "Pickled Pork" came from. My family didn't marinate it that long so I don't know how strong the flavor would become. ...Let Me Know if you try it that way. )
I really hope you try this marinade. There are so many different entrées that you could use it with, that I'm not even going to try to mention them all. The one thing I can tell you for sure is that preparing any meat in this marinade will add a talento português ... a Portuguese Flair to any meat dish.
Until the Next Time ... So Long from Bob's Diner
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