Bacalhau with a meaty twist

Bacalhau with a meaty twist

New food writer Megan Melling has prepared a very special and festive Christmas dinner menu for our readers. Last week she cooked Spinach and Sheep Cheese Pastries for starters, and this week it is time for the main course.

Codfish with broa and alheira

A Portuguese Christmas isn’t considered a traditional foodie event without the typical codfish. There are dozens of ways of cooking and serving it, and today I will show you my favourite version.
You can buy the codfish already frozen, with no need to soak it in water. If, however, you opt for the salted cod, make sure to leave it in water in the fridge overnight, with at least one water change so it doesn’t taste so salty.


▪ 600 grams frozen, already soaked codfish
▪ 1 litre skimmed milk
▪ 4 bay leaves
▪ 6 large white onions
▪ 10 cloves of garlic
▪ 100 grams broa de milho
▪ 1 alheira de caça
▪ 700 grams baby potatoes
▪ 400 grams broccoli
▪ Salt and pepper to taste
▪ 25 grams fresh cilantro
▪ 200 ml extra virgin olive oil


Boil potatoes whole, skin on, cut into wedges and sautée in olive oil. For a healthier option, brown the potatoes in the oven, turning every so often so they brown evenly.
Boil the cod in milk and 2 bay leaves. As soon as the milk boils, turn the stove off and let sit for 10 minutes. Separate the flesh and discard the skin and bones.
Caramelise sliced onions and 3 garlic cloves in olive oil, 2 bay leaves and freshly ground pepper. Add the cod into the onion mix and let sit until plating time.
Sauté the broccoli with remaining garlic and olive oil. First, slightly fry the garlic, add the broccoli and add water until half is covered. Let the water evaporate; stir the broccoli occasionally, season with salt and pepper. This is an excellent way to start liking broccoli as a vegetable, as it isn’t boiled, and flavour and vitamins aren’t lost in the cooking water because it is completely evaporated.
Crumble and toast the broa in the oven or on the stove.
Make the cilantro and garlic olive oil with a food processor or hand mixer.
Fry the alheira, without the skin, in a pan, no added fat needed.
To plate: place potatoes and broccoli, top with the cod and onion mix, sprinkle some alheira and toasted crumbled broa and add the cilantro and garlic olive oil to taste.
Next week: Don’t miss out on the mouth-watering dessert! It has wine as an ingredient …
By Megan Melling
Megan Melling’s journey into the food world started three years ago when she decided to enrol in Cookery and Food Production in Portugal. She was born American, but grew up in the Algarve, so she gets the best of two opposite culinary cultures. She is currently working as a cook in Lisbon and documenting all of her personal recipes on her blog